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Biographical Sketch Page 

Antecedents i 

Early Life 3 

, The Legislator 8 

The Party Leader 22 

In the National Legislature 31 

Pater Universitatis Missouriensis 40 

President of the Board of Curators 50 

The Man 68 

Notes 77 

Two Voices 81 

Analecta 117 

From "Reply to Mr. Goode" 121 

Letter to Mr. Dunn 124 

On the Rebellion 133 

Letter to Electors 155 

Freedom of Speech 161 

On the Objects of the War 185 

On the Thirteenth Amendment 196 

The Army and the Navy 222 

The Great Struggle Ended' 226 

Letter to Senator Muench 234 

Vindication of Boone County 239 

Letter to the Boone County Court 244 

Plea for the Farmers, Mechanics, and Miners of Missouri . 252 

Address before the Congressional Convention .... 274 

From Address before the Alumni Association .... 287 

Letter to the Mississippi River Improvement Convention . 289 

Presentation of Portrait 296 

Presentation of Bust 



WILLIAM BENJAMIN SMITH, A. M., Ph. D. (goettingen) 


avopa §' axpsXstv asp u>v 

sXoi is xai Sovaixo, xaXXiato? rcovcov. 




Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1891, by 

J. H. Rollins, G. B. Rollins, C. B. Rollins, and E. T. Rollins 

In the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington 


















Raines ^ttmep 3Btolltns. 


THE modern School of Naturalists, having settled to its satis- 
faction the general doctrine of descent with modification, has 
of late fallen into two hostile camps over the question as to how 
the modification is brought about. On the one hand, these attach 
supreme importance to heredity, and trace back to spontaneous 
variations in the germ-plasm, and to natural selection therefrom, 
all the peculiarities that establish themselves firmly through suc- 
cessive generations ; on the other hand, those accent the environ- 
ment with special emphasis, and find in its steady play on the 
organism the fons et origo of every distinguishing quality, whether 
of individual, or variety, or species. 

It is not for the historian to compose this strife of savants. Per- 
haps both parties are right and both wrong : right in what they affirm, 
wrong in what they deny. Certain it is that the biographer can not 
safely leave out of account either inheritance or surroundings in 
estimating the complex of influences that mold the hero into what he 
is ; and no less certain that while time, place, and circumstance may 
often appear completely regulative of the whole life of action, yet 
many a turn of conduct, many an element of character, becomes fully 
intelligible only in the light that emanates from the ancestral tomb. 

The subject of this memoir, James Sidney Rollins, was born at 
Richmond, the county seat of Madison County, Kentucky, on the 


19th of April, 181 2. His father, Dr. Anthony Wayne Rollins, 
whose name, an echo from Ticonderoga and Stony Point, is resonant 
of the martial achievements of the pioneers of liberty and civiliza- 
tion in the New World, was a native of Westmoreland County, 
Pennsylvania, whither his father's father, Henry Rollins, had immi- 
grated from Tyrone County, Ireland, after the outbreak of the 
Revolution, but not too late to signalize his native love of freedom 
under the flag of Independence, on the field of Brandywine. His 
grandmother, the wife of Henry Rollins, was a Scotch woman, nee 
Carson, a lifelong Presbyterian, both in faith and in nationality a 
typical character. Her own Caledonian thrift, energy, and serious- 
ness, rigidity of opinion and resoluteness of purpose, she has 
transmitted in ample measure, though tempered or disguised by 
gentler qualities, to her remoter descendants. 

Such qualities in James Sidney were the rich legacy from his 
mother, Sallie Harris, nee Rodes, a woman whose nature was graced 
and life adorned in high degree with all feminine excellence. Her 
father, Robert Rodes, first as magistrate by appointment of Patrick 
Henry, Governor of Virginia, then as Quarter Session Judge of 
Madison County under commission from Isaac Shelby, first Gov- 
ernor of Kentucky, lastly as Circuit Judge, for nearly a full genera- 
tion discharged with eminent acceptance the important, difficult, and 
delicate duties of criminal, civil, and equity jurisdiction, maintaining 
till the end the confidence and esteem not only of the State author- 
ities and of the people at large, but also of a bar distinguished for 
learning and still more for native ability. He was not merely, 
however, an upright judge whose well-considered rulings were sel- 
dom amended by the Court of Appeals ; he was conspicuously a 
man of affairs, full of enterprise and fond of adventure, a natural 
leader among men. Thus, in 1777, at the age of eighteen, amid the 
great national travail, we find him a volunteer in a campaign against 
the Indians of East Tennessee ; two years later, while yet a boy, he 
is chosen captain of a large company of volunteers, and marches 
from Albemarle County, Virginia, to the defense of the eastern 
coast; and in 1783 he is elected commandant of an expedition to 
Kentucky, yet unredeemed from barbarism. His birthplace, Albe- 
marle County, Virginia, tells the story of his lineage and blood. 
His father was a landed proprietor in that picturesque valley, a fair 


reflection in the New World of the well-to-do English gentry, a 
good liver, of imposing physique, abounding in animal spirits, 
delighting in the horse as his daily companion, basking lovingly if 
only half-consciously in the glories of mountain, forest, and stream 
more in capacity than in achievement. 

Thus it appears that James Sidney Rollins, like so many who 
have signalized themselves in history, drew the current of his life 
from many fountains. On the paternal side two streams of Celtic 
blood, a Scotch and an Irish, were mingled : the one contributing 
the firmness, the persistence, the earnestness, the shrewdness, the 
sagacity, the sense of opportunity that conquer success in every 
undertaking ; the other softening these rugged virtues with the 
genial humor, the quick sympathy, the generous impulses, the large 
benevolence that everywhere and at all times ennoble the true son 
of Erin. In life and in death this inheritance in the veins of the 
father, Dr. Rollins, was not divided, as his beneficent career as 
physician, but still more his* remarkable bequest hereafter to be 
mentioned, bears ample witness. Side by side, however, with this 
mingled stream there coursed through the veins of the son, James 
Sidney, the full tide of Saxon blood, with its strength, its courage, 
its audacity, its lust of combat and conquest, and its delight in 
power. These were a mother's gift, received from her father to be 
delivered to her son. 

Two distinct races contend with almost equal right in the books 
of the learned for the glory of being the original Aryans and of 
having sown in Europe the germs of western and modern civiliza- 
tion : the Celto-Slavic, tall, brawny, broad-headed, ruddy alike of 
hair and of skin ; the Teutonic, taller still, huge of limb, light of hair, 
above all, however, long-headed. The brawn and brain of these 
two races march forward together to the subjugation of the planet ; 
and it is no empty rhetoric nor fulsome laudation, but naked histor- 
ical fact, that their bloods met in the veins of James Sidney Rollins, 
and in just proportion. 


PERHAPS the most distinguishing feature in the character of Dr. 
A. W. Rollins was the remarkably high estimate that he set upon 


learning, especially upon scholastic attainment. Though nothimself 
by profession a scholar, but dedicated to a bread-and-butter science 
that of all the learned callings in this land at present most discredits 
learning and makes least pretensions to scholarship among its devo- 
tees, while at the same time borrowing most largely of its methods 
and ideas from pure science, Dr. Rollins yet rounded his whole life 
into an example of the benefit of collegiate training and into an elo- 
quent and yearly more effective plea for its encouragement. The 
straitened circumstances of his early youth could not deter him 
from attempting, nor prevent him from at last accomplishing, the 
full course of liberal study offered by Jefferson College, Pennsylva- 
nia. Each new addition to his own education he at once utilized — 
monetized, in fact — by teaching others and so procuring means for 
his own further advancement. Thus, step by step, he conquered for 
himself a wide range not only of liberal but also of professional cul- 
ture, and long after he had firmly established himself in a lucrative 
practice he voluntarily surrendered this hard won vantage-ground 
and betook himself, harried by the love of the best, to Philadelphia, 
there to learn the most then to be known in America, at the feet of 
the celebrated Dr. Benjamin Rush. It was no ladder of knowledge 
that round by round he ascended, but rather a vertical wall of rock, 
where each successive niche had to be painfully cut out and afforded 
only a precarious foothold. These severe struggles of his early man- 
hood left deep traces in the mind and heart of Dr. Rollins, and the 
Aid Fund to the struggling youth of Boone County attests at once 
his generous sympathy with intellectual aspiration and his far-sighted 
wisdom in devising means for its encouragement. 1 

It would have been strange if such a father had not availed him- 
self of the best facilities then offered, in the education of his first-born 
son. In fact, so early did James Sidney begin and so vigorously 
did he prosecute liberal studies — the humanities, as they are finely 
called — at Richmond Academy, that when only fifteen he was found 
fit to enter the sophomore class in Washington College, Pennsyl- 
vania. — So it was in the morning; but in this noonday of intelligence 
and culture the young man can scarcely enter the freshman class 
at eighteen, the complaint is rife that he can not get into active life 
before twenty-five or twenty-six, and it is seriously proposed to cut 
off the last year of the academic course ! Do we really learn so 


much more in high school and college now than then, and have we 
improved so little in methods that our knowledge by three years 
outruns our wisdom ? Or, perchance, are we bound hand and foot 
with red tape, sepulchred in " grades," and overwhelmed with the 
frills and furbelows of learning ? — Two years after his matriculation 
at Washington the young Rollins, now a senior, followed his Pres- 
ident, Dr. Wylie, to the State University of Indiana, at Blooming- 
ton, where he graduated at the age of eighteen and with the honors 
of his class. Insufficient induction has led some to maintain that 
academic leaders are seldom heard of afterwards, being content to 
rest upon their collegiate laurels. At least, such was not the case 
with young Rollins. Following his father to Missouri, whither the 
latter had already gone partly at the suasion of paternal affection, 
his daughter having formed an alliance with Dr. James H. Bennett 
of Columbia, Missouri, partly at the instance of failing health, which 
might find recruit or restoration under new climatic conditions, and 
partly doubtless at the suggestion of the pioneer's love of adven- 
ture and the unknown, which is also the wonderful, the young man 
spent one year in caring for the large farm of his father, two years 
in the private study of the law in the office of Abiel Leonard, after- 
wards a Supreme Judge of Missouri, and then, returning to Kentucky, 
he completed the law course at Transylvania, Lexington, gradua- 
ting in the spring of 1 834 at the age of twenty-two. A life of unre- 
mittent, arduous, and exhaustive labor prolonged in full activity 
beyond seventy years, no less than his commanding physique, 
attests sufficiently the general strength and hardihood of young 
Rollins's bodily constitution ; yet it is likely that his health had felt 
unfavorably the protracted application of so many years, and still 
more probable that his alert, vigorous, adventurous spirit, rejoicing 
in action rather than in reflection, was cramped and sicklied in the 
close atmosphere of the law-office ; certain it is that, though the 
young Rollins, having now gathered together and marshalled his 
forces for the battle of life, began successfully the practice of the law 
in Columbia, yet his insecure health forbade complete devotion to 
his profession. At first he sought partial relaxation and diversion 
in husbandry in the suburbs of Columbia ; but with the outbreak of 
the Black Hawk war his restless spirit eagerly embraced an oppor- 
tunity for action, and having enlisted as a volunteer he served as 


aide-de-camp on the staff of Major-General Richard Gentry. There 
was little glory to be won by the Missouri troops in this campaign 
in defence of their northeastern border, save from the faithful dis- 
charge of monotonous duty, and on its close Major Rollins, as he 
was henceforth called, resumed actively his profession. Still his 
restive nature sought other outlet for its energies, and in connection 
with his law-partner, Thomas Miller, he began and for many years 
continued to edit the Columbia Patriot, devoted to the principles 
and interests of the Whig party. The organ was most fitly named, 
for pride in his country, glory in his country, and love of his coun- 
try were always the regnant emotions in the soul of Rollins. And 
now he began to liberate himself more and more from the drudgery 
of the law and to emerge into notice conspicuously in his true un- 
taught and unlearned character as an homme d'affaires, the creator 
of ideas, the originator of enterprises, the leader of men. It was 
April the 26th, 1836, when the first railroad convention ever held 
west of the Mississippi assembled in St. Louis. It was an unusual 
and striking tribute to the ability and enthusiasm, but not less, we 
suspect, to the recognized scholarship and literary skill, of the young 
man of twenty-four, that he should have received respectful hearing, 
even, in a council where the cautious wisdom of age and experience 
rather than the ardor of youth would naturally have been directive; 
much more that he should have guided its deliberations and in fact 
moulded its decisions. He was appointed chairman — with such 
able associates, afterward highly distinguished, as Edward Bates and 
Hamilton R. Gamble — of the committee to memorialize Congress, 
and he drafted the first petition asking the national legislature for 
a grant of public lands in aid of the system of internal improvement 
projected by the convention. How extensively this idea has since 
been adopted by that body, and with what far reaching and mo- 
mentous consequences to our whole commercial and even govern- 
mental polity, is long since a matter of history. 

From this point on it is affairs of great public import, rather than 
the concerns of private clients, that engage the attention and fas- 
cinate the regard of Rollins. Not that he abandoned the practice 
of the law, nor that he ever neglected or failed to serve diligently 
the interest of a client ; far from it, his practice became extensive 


and remunerative, and was successful ; but he came more and more 
to deal en gros with legal questions, the technical details of the pro- 
fession had little attraction for him, and he willingly resigned their 
care to others. The question will naturally arise, whether this par- 
tial divorce from his own chosen calling, and this increasing devo- 
tion to alien pursuits, were wise in motive or justified in issue. It 
is out of question that he thereby deliberately renounced the high- 
est eminence in his profession. Themis no more than any other 
goddess will tolerate a divided worship ; her especial favors she 
reserves for her exclusive adorers. But the preliminary question 
is, was Rollins formed by nature to excel greatly at the bar ? The 
answer would seem to be that he had been endowed with a capacious 
and flexible intellect actuated by uncommon zeal and energy ; that 
he had attained a broad and generous culture, a large and sufficiently 
accurate comprehension of the principles of jurisprudence; that he 
was fertile of resource and unusually ready and persuasive of speech. 
It is hardly possible, then, that such a combination of qualities set 
and kept in motion by ambitious and steadily directed industry 
should not have carried him forward to eminence in any walk of 
public life. In particular, as an advocate in criminal courts he could 
not have failed of great distinction. Nevertheless, all these endow- 
ments were of a very general nature, adaptable rather than adapted 
to the specific work of the lawyer, while the distinctive features of 
the born barrister were not prominent in his character. The patient 
assiduity in research, the loving delight in endless details, the wide 
and ready mastery of precedent, the microscopic keenness of intel- 
lectual vision, the dogged persistence in* attack, the unyielding 
obstinacy in defense — all these qualities, the seal and stamp of 
nature's attorney, were not preeminently his. In the arena of the 
law his triumphs were feats of strength rather than of agility. On 
the other hand, in the world of action, of politics and economics, 
of commerce and enterprise, of legislation and of education, he 
brought to the matters in hand not only all the qualities usually 
and naturally called into requisition, but a largeness of intelligence, 
a height and breadth of conception, a liberality and idealism of 
spirit, and a sense of the future, that made him not only a con- 
spicuous actor in one generation, but a memorable benefactor of 



At the outset of his political career Mr. Rollins was called on 
to make choice between the two great political parties, Whig and 
Democratic, that for so many years divided the suffrages and alter- 
nately directed the destinies of the American people. This is not 
the place either to criticize or to characterize the tenets of those 
organizations, now become historic. At that time the " American 
idea" (so called by Henry Clay) of protection to manufactures, 
especially " infant " ones, dominated the Whig councils ; though 
remarkably enough the ablest lawyer, the most eloquent orator, 
the adroitest diplomat, the most skillful financier of the party 
and of the Union, the illustrious Webster, was a pronounced Free 
Trader. In 1824 he had riddled Protectionism with resistless logic 
and merciless sarcasm ; that policy having been adopted, however, 
against his vehement protest, he thenceforward lent it, as a fait 
accompli, a half-hearted support at the demand of his constituents. 
The Democratic party was regarded as the bulwark of the slave 
power. At a later period its extreme southern wing developed a 
social faction of slaveholders, bent on disunion and their own de- 
struction ; even as the extreme northern wing of the Whig developed 
a faction equally bent on disunion and the ruin of somebody else, 
far wiser, however, in its own generation. But then and ever since, 
albeit blindly led and grossly compromised by their chieftains, the 
masses of both parties, North and South, have been devoted, and 
perhaps equally devoted, to the Union. Born in Kentucky, his 
father an ardent Whig and admirer of Clay, it was natural that 
Rollins should range himself under the banner of the " great com- 
moner," and honorable that he should follow it to the end. By so 
doing, however, he made a large, though perhaps not conscious, 
sacrifice of political ambition. He cast his fortune with a minority 
that became gradually more and more hopeless, and condemned 
himself finally to political insulation. The misfortune of his choice, 
judged by the standard of official preferment, did not display itself 
in his earlier and merely local canvasses, where personal quality is 
wont to be a more significant factor. In the first of these, at the 


age of twenty-six, he was easily elected to represent Boone County 
in the State Legislature. The session of 1838-39 was an important 
one, and offered him ample opportunity, which he was not slow in 
seizing, to "make by force his merit known." Here it was, in 
fact, that he met and learned to know his ideal love, the Higher 
Education, and pledged himself her champion zealously and for 
life. The — germ, shall we call it? — nay, rather the gemmule, of a 
seminary of higher learning, the mere suggestion of a university 
as a desideratum of the future, had long lain dead or dormant in the 
organic law of the State. In the famous ordinance of 1787, by which 
Virginia ceded the great Northwest Territory to the General Gov- 
ernment, Thomas Jefferson had expressly stipulated on behalf of 
one of the high contracting parties that — " Art. 3. Religion, morality, 
and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happi- 
ness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever 
be encouraged." In organizing the Territory of Missouri, part of 
another splendid gift of Jeffersonian diplomacy to the Federal Union, 
in 1812, Congress had adopted literally this provision, and defined 
it more precisely by the clause added — "and provided for from the 
public lands of the United States in said Territory, in such man- 
ner as Congress may deem expedient." The ample provision 
"deemed expedient" by the wisdom of Congress, for the establish- 
ment and maintenance of a " university, or seminary of learning," 
consisted of two townships of land, 46,030 acres, from which was 
realized on a hasty and inconsiderate sale the munificent sum of 
$78,000! ! Thus far the Congressional Act of February 17, 18 18, 
and the Enabling Act of March 6, 1820 ; herein the State, of course, 
acquiesced, both by the ordinance of July 19, 1820, and in the Con- 
stitution of like date. This instrument declares that there shall be 
a " university for the promotion of literature and the arts and 
sciences." The Constitution of 1865 declares that " The General 
Assembly shall establish and maintain a State University, with de- 
partments for instruction in teaching, in agriculture, and in natural 
science, as soon as the public school fund will permit." It would 
appear that the author, the Hon. C. D. Drake, cared for no other 
" departments for instruction " than the three mentioned, or that he 
apprehended that these might be left out in the organization of the 
University ; but what college even, not to say university, ever 


omitted " natural science " from its curriculum ? The new Con- 
stitution of 1875 is more and less explicit: 

" The annual income of the public school fund, together with so 
much of the ordinary revenue of the State as may be by law set 
apart for that purpose, shall be faithfully appropriated for establish- 
ing and maintaining the free public schools and the State University, 
and for no other uses or purposes whatsoever. 

" The General Assembly shall, whenever the public school fund 
will permit and the actual necessity of the same may require, aid and 
maintain the State University now established with its present 

In such a gingerly, inadequate, perfunctory, and sometimes unin- 
telligible manner (witness the obscure reference of " the same ") do 
our constitutions acknowledge and provide for the supreme intel- 
lectual interests of the State ! 

Far be it from us to depreciate the wisdom that indeed recognized 
the rights of mind and the necessity of higher education in the 
early legislation already quoted. But to speak of such vague pro- 
visions as in any proper sense founding the University now in our 
midst is to misread the facts of history or to use words with slight 
regard to exactness of meaning. These provisions contain at best 
and at most but a prophecy of a university. All that any one 
could safely infer from any or all of the enactments in question 
would be that sometime in the indefinite future, if the State Legisla- 
ture should fulfil its obligations, there would be in some wise founded 
and somehow maintained a State University. But how often has 
such a body been known to fulfil its obligations ? Assuredly a 
scrupulous regard for them is not one of its noteworthy frailties. 
As a matter of fact the General Assembly has never discharged the 
whole duty thus imposed on it, nor until comparatively recent years 
any very considerable measure thereof. Not until 1827 were the 
townships set apart for the " seminary of learning," and even under 
far wiser administration the amount realizable from them would 
have been ridiculously inadequate to the establishment and main- 
tenance of a college, much more of a university. Granted, then, 
that far-sighted early legislation contained the promise and potency 
of a higher educational life, there was yet needed the long and 
patient brooding of wise statesmanship to quicken it ; granted that 


the framers of our Constitution had cherished the imagination of a 
seminary of learning, it remained for some later lawgiver to embody 
their fancy in a positive statute, to give it form and substance, " a 
local habitation and a name." 

It was no mere accident, but a part of the eternal fitness of things, 
that this high privilege and sacred duty fell to the lot of James 
Sidney Rollins. No more than his father devoted to purely intel- 
lectual pursuits, he had inherited all that father's deep reverence for 
learning, and thereto he added an extraordinary and unflagging zeal 
for its advancement. A slaveholder himself by an accident of lat- 
itude, he had been educated on the soil, and was familiar with the 
traditions, of freedom. His father had been born and reared in the 
atmosphere of a respectable college, and almost in sight of his 
maternal grandfather's home there had welled forth at the touch of 
Jefferson that copious fountain of knowledge which beyond all others 
has ennobled and invigorated our southern civilization. He was 
only more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of the fathers, then, 
when he laid before the House of Representatives at Jefferson City 
a bill — which was passed the 8th of February, 1839, the first he ever 
drafted and the first that advanced the pledge of the Constitution one 
step towards fulfilment — for fixing the site of the State University. 
By the introduction, by the eloquent, effective, and successful advo- 
cacy, of this measure young Rollins declared and constituted himself 
the especial protagonist of the higher education. It was no popu- 
lar cause that he thus openly espoused. No system of common 
schools, even, was then nor for many years afterwards known in the 
State. Massachusetts, even though in the third century of her ex- 
istence, rich with Old World culture, a land of scholars and authors, 
men of letters and men of science, was just then, under the guidance 
and urgence of Horace Mann, beginning to bring her schools into 
order. Missouri was still given over to illiteracy. After making 
all proper discount, then, for the enthusiasm of youth flown with 
professional degrees and academic honors, we must still yield 
admiration and gratitude without reserve to the high-hearted, 
wide-minded, far-sighted statesmanship that boldly allied itself 
under such conditions indissolubly with an abstraction, with an in- 
tellectual interest that even now, at the remove of half a century, 
one-third of our populace regard with distrust or disfavor, and whose 


just prerogatives it is even yet the part of policy to let rest largely 
in abeyance. 

With the passage of the Rollins bill for fixing its site, the drama 
of the University's history was opened. The following scene was 
one of unique and even thrilling interest, and in it the hero was 
again the principal actor. It was the intent of the bill to secure a 
central seat for the great seminary, and its location was offered 
openly as a prize to the " place presenting the most advantages to 
be derived to the said University, keeping in view the amount 
subscribed-, and locality and general advantages " ; but this generous 
competition was restricted expressly to the six river-counties of 
Cole, Cooper, Howard, Boone, Callaway, and Saline. And now 
began a contest that for animation might remind one of a steam- 
boat race on the lower Mississippi, and that might have appeared 
to an outsider as almost ludicrous in its intensity, if the dignity and 
ideal character of the stakes had not lent it gravity and importance. 
Never in the days of chivalry was a lady wooed by knights or trou- 
badours with more romantic devotion than the future University 
by the rival counties. A distinguished citizen of victorious Boone, 
of large reputation and of great abilities, Gen. Odon Guitar, in a 
happier portion of his address commemorating the Semi-Centennial 
of the University and published in the August number of the Uni- 
versity Magazine (New York), has set forth the struggle in bold and 
striking relief. From the account given by this eye-witness it would 
seem that emulation glowed with a fervor far beyond that of even 
political animosity. Meetings were held in every church, at every 
crossroads, in every school-house ; subscriptions were pledged and 
doubled and raised again ; the air resounded with stirring appeals 
to pride of county, to glory in learning, to commercial ambition. 
Very eloquent, too, they must have been — at least very effective, for 
the people were aroused, rich and poor alike, to a veritable frenzy 
of liberality. Some attained and even surpassed the high-water 
mark set by the widow in Gospel story, giving not only all they had 
but even discounting largely the future. Indeed, Boone County 
seemed set unalterably on securing the prize at any hazard ; the 
subscription list, which was redeemed to the last farthing, was 
closed only when the total of $i 17,900 was satisfactorily ascertained 
to be far in excess of the amount pledged by any rival, and was 
ready to be reopened in case of exigence. Rightly to appreciate 


the full significance of this donation to an enterprise in which the 
most could have at best but a distant reversionary material interest, 
we must remember that the population of the county was but 
13,300, so that the average subscription was nearly $9 ! For what 
conceivable undertaking promising no distinct and but little indirect 
financial return would it now be possible to raise an average sub- 
scription of even $3 ? And yet, while the population has merely 
doubled itself, the wealth has been multiplied in far higher ratio. 
No very rich man lived in the county ; the wealthiest were merely 
well-to-do — the largest subscription was of $3,000. The annual 
burden of $10,000 interest was then assumed by poverty cheerfully 
and voluntarily ; now the yearly load of $300 taxation is borne by 
wealth reluctantly, with chafings and with many sighs. Then a 
population of 13,000 spontaneously endowed the University with 
nearly $120,000 — with a yearly income of $10,000 ; now a popula- 
tion nearly two hundred times as great and individually four times 
as wealthy will not endow it with $1,000,000 — with a yearly 
income of $40,000. The muscles of power are indeed enlarged 
eight-hundred-fold ; but the nerves of will are shrunk to the one- 
two-hundredth of their former dimensions. 

Of all men young Rollins felt the deepest and liveliest interest in 
the location of the University. It was just and reasonable that he 
should desire to see the tender plant set out in his own vicinage, on 
his own commons, where, and where only, the same hand that planted 
might also water and prune and in every way foster. Located else- 
where than in Columbia, it was impossible that the University should 
enjoy the daily and hourly watch-care with which he tended it for 
more than a generation, and with more than paternal affection. No 
wonder then that in this exciting canvass the cause of his county 
was committed to his keeping; able, active, and honored coadju- 
tants he had in number, whose names illumine the chronicle of the 
University ; but it was the contagion of his own ardor that above all 
enkindled the zeal of others. Not only his words but equally his 
deeds attested his earnestness. His father, a recent immigrant, sub- 
scribed $1,500; himself, a novitiate in law with few causes and there- 
fore presumably with not very many effects, subscribed $2,000. 
But it is the nature of " influence " to propagate itself outward in ex- 
panding circles ; what we do immediately ourselves is at most but 
trivial compared with what we do mediately through others. For 


months the young legislator devoted himself untiringly and almost 
exclusively in every honorable way, by public appeal and by private 
persuasion, to the magnanimous enterprise of swelling the subscrip- 
tion of Boone County to dimensions unattainable by any rival, so as 
to make assurance doubly sure and secure the coveted prize beyond 
all peradventure. His undisputed rank as forefighter in this gen- 
erous contest was officially recognized and proclaimed when the 
County Court of Boone by order of May 28, 1839, appointed " Jas. S. 
Rollins commissioner on the part of this county to meet with the com- 
missioners appointed to locate the State University, at the seat of 
government, etc.," Sinclair Kirtley being named as alternate. 

Eighteen hundred and thirty-nine must always be counted as the 
annas mirabilis in the records of Boone County. In appreciating 
properly the extraordinary munificence of that year's donation, it is 
necessary to remember that the period was one of deep and wide- 
spread monetary depression. In 1837 a financial panic of fearful 
and unexampled intensity had paralyzed the commerce of the coun- 
try, and in 1839 there was felt a recurrence of the shock, less severe 
but even more dispiriting. It was not indeed the first time that a 
people, from the lowest prostration of material prosperity, had roused 
itself to erect a fabric of immaterial greatness, less imposing to the 
eye of flesh, but more substantial, enduring and impregnable to the 
assaults of time and circumstance. It was in 1809, after the military 
pride of Prussia had " slipped into ashes " at Jena, and her political 
supremacy had vanished with the peace of Tilsit, that the Royal 
Friedrich Wilhelm University was founded at Berlin and forthwith 
began the regeneration of Germany. Highly, however, though we 
may honor the men of '39, the question will still recur to the cool 
critical mind — In what measure shall we ascribe their generosity and 
the zealotry of Rollins on the one hand to unselfish love of learning, 
veneration for culture, pride and delight in the things of mind, and 
on the other to calculating commercial foresight and personal ambi- 
tion of success ? The question is unanswerable, but no apportion- 
ment of motives need much disturb us. There is a broad and wise 
selfishness that almost counterfeits unselfishness itself. While some 
of us may hesitate to answer yes to the poet's question : 

Is selfishness, — 
For time a sin, — spun to eternity, 
Celestial prudence? 


yet certainly a simultaneous pursuit of one's own and of others' real 
interests along parallel lines is a high and laudable form of human 
action, if not the highest attainable or practicable under existing con- 
ditions. Is it not indeed a problem of civilization, of practical Chris- 
tianity, to show clearly to the world that enlightened Egoism and 
Altruism, so far from being mutually exclusive, are in reality one? 

Be all this as it may, the site was chosen, the corner-stone was laid 
July 4, 1840; the building began to rise; an accomplished scholar, 
a zealous teacher, a thoroughly excellent man, Prof. John H. 
Lathrop, LL. D., of Hamilton College, N. Y., was elected President; 
for two years the University tabernacled in a tent, but on the 4th 
of July, 1843, the main edifice, erected at a cost of about $80,000, — 
a vast sum for that time and place — was impressively dedicated, and 
President Lathrop inaugurated his administration in great wisdom, 
with high aims and with genuine eloquence. But even the three 
years in the tent had not been spent vainly, if we may judge by 
the first graduates in Arts, of November 28, 1843, Robert L. Todd 
and Robert B. Todd : the latter on the Supreme Bench of the State 
of Louisiana ; the former a banker, for twenty-five years Secretary, 
for thirteen of these years member, of the Curatorial Board of the 
University, her wise counsellor, her firm supporter, her devoted son 
at every stage of her history, a gentleman whom the multifarious 
cares of engrossing commercial activities have in no wise availed to 
divorce from intellectual interests, whose zest has never palled for 
"the things of mind," and who amid the deepening snows of winter 
yet preserves that spring-tide freshness, that summer sunshine of the 
breast, which is born and nurtured of love and culture of literature 
and the arts. 

Did the seminary thus planted amid so much devotion, enthusiasm, 
and self-sacrifice, thus rooted and grounded in every civic virtue, 
thus tended to its first noble fruitage under omens so auspicious — 
did it redeem its early promise, did it grow and flourish from sea- 
son to season in perfected symmetry, in waxing beauty and strength ? 
The unvarnished truth is, it did not. It neither withered nor died, 
nor ceased to grow and yield its fruit in its season. But its growth 
has not been rapid nor steady — above all, has not been natural and 
symmetric ; it has not as yet lifted aloft and conspicuous from afar 
the straight and stately stem of learning, not deformed at base and 


along the trunk by an unpruned growth of adventitious shoots, but 
waving at the top its wealth of foliage and of fruit. The fault, or 
rather the misfortune, did not lie, at least in earlier years, in any in- 
dividual, certainly not in President Lathrop nor in his constant 
friend, adviser, and supporter, Major Rollins, to whom he resorted 
for counsel and help in every matter of difficulty or delicacy, who, all 
along the road of his duty, was both a staff for his hand and a lamp 
for his feet. Nay, it was to be sought and easily found in the condi- 
tions of time and place, which were throughout the State altogether 
unfavorable to the success of any such lofty educational emprise. 
The unwearied zealotry of Rollins had for a moment and in two or 
three counties apparently reversed these conditions, turning the 
coldest apathy into the warmest sympathy. But it was impossible 
that this intense interest should prove more than temporary and 
local. The majority glowed with no native and intrinsic but only 
with reflected ardor, and the young enthusiast had no mission to the 
Gentiles, no call to preach the Gospel of culture to the outlying 
counties of the State. The population of the commonwealth was 
over382,ooo; of Boone County it was 13,000. Theselatter had given 
the University about $9 apiece; had the rest been willing to give 
an average of but $1, — that is, taxed themselves scarcely ten cents 
per annum, — the University would have started forth with a sufficient 
building and with a productive endowment of $500,000, which would 
have lifted it at once beyond the arrows and the tongues of men, 
would have launched the vessel fully manned and perfectly ap- 
pointed. Such a University would have made Missouri to the 
South and West all and more than all that Massachusetts and Vir- 
ginia and Michigan have been to the North and East; by the law 
of attraction, to him that hath shall be given, equally potent in the 
material and in the immaterial world, it would have attracted to it- 
self larger and larger endowments, it would have given the State 
glory and prestige at home with honorable fame abroad, it would 
very possibly have saved the State, though not indeed the nation, 
from the disaster of internecine war. Instead of all this, however, 
what did the State do for the University ? Simply nothing at all ! 
So far was she from emulating the munificence of Boone County, 
that the unexpectedly great amount of the gift was held apparently to 
relieve all other counties from the duty of doing anything at all. Since 


Boone has done sufficient, why should the others do any more? 
Such would seem to have been the reasoning. Far worse, however, 
than merely negative was the working of this neglect and indiffer- 
ence of the State at large in comparison with the eager interest, self- 
ish or unselfish, of a single county. For it inevitably invested the 
"State University" with a certain supposed merely local character 
and significance that to this day it has not been able to shake off, 
that has fitted and cramped it like a genuine shirt of Nessus, for evil 
only, evil everywhere, and evil continually. The University came 
in fact to be regarded not as a State but as a county institution, and 
any favor shown it — nay, even the scantiest recognition of its con- 
stitutional rights — was held and is even yet held in many quarters to 
be an act of special grace and condescension to Boone ! ! To wrestle 
with such wrong-headedness is like struggling with Antaeus : every 
fall is a source of new strength and a summons to a new encounter. 
But more ; this pernicious misconception has borne a progeny more 
baneful even than itself. The facts of the case seem to have been 
first forgotten and then inverted. In this perverse imagination it is 
not the county that endowed the State University but the State that 
endowed a county college ! ! What prerogative has Boone over 
Pike or Clay, Phelps or Cole, Adair or Johnson ? The location of a 
University in Columbia is looked upon as a gift of over-generous 
partiality, of indefensible favoritism, not as a franchise dearly bought, 
put up and sold for an extravagant price at public auction ! So 
thoroughly has the virus of the " spoils system " infected all forms of 
our national life, so completely has the notion of public trust been 
displaced by that of public crib, that even a University is regarded 
as only secondarily an organ of general improvement, of universal 
benefaction, but primarily as an instrument of public plunder. 

But the misconception, narrow selfishness, and short-sighted 
parsimony that for so many years have dwarfed, stunted, and de- 
formed the University, and therewith the whole educational system 
of the State, serve only to set in clearer relief by contrast the en- 
lightened, philanthropic, and prophetic statesmanship that presided 
at its planting. 

Such, then, so brilliant and so beneficent, was the entrance of 
Rollins into public life. It was, in truth, no mere rhetoric that 
declared at the semi-centennial celebration of July 4, 1890, osten- 


sibly designed to revive the memories of '39, that the very stones 
in the building were stamped with the name of Rollins ; certain it 
is that whatever else may come or go, his mystic presence will 
abide forever, inexpulsible as the ether, and pervade the structure 
from basis to cupola. 

In 1840 the services of Mr. Rollins to his county, to the State, 
and to education were fittingly recognized by his constituents, who 
returned him to the Legislature b'y a large and increased majority. 
In that, the Eleventh General Assembly, there was an unusual 
assemblage of talent. The compeers of Rollins numbered in their 
ranks not a few who attained great note and prominence in the 
history of the State. Such were Gen. A. W. Doniphan, D. R. 
Atchison, T. L. Anderson, L. V. Bogy, J. G. Miller, S. B. Churchill, 
Bev. Allen — nearly all of whom preceded him in joining the 
majority. How the young man of twenty-eight sustained himself 
in such presence may justly be inferred from the political eminence 
at which he soon afterward found himself. The University build- 
ing was then in process of construction, and naturally no important 
University interest seems to have called for consideration. But 
there was ample subject for discussion and resolution. The great 
Whig dogma of "internal improvement" came up under various 
forms for consideration ; the ardent spirit of Rollins, full of zeal for 
" progress," embraced it without reserve, and its slogan resounded 
eloquently from his lips. Judge as we may this political and 
economic creed, it is impossible not to admire the courage, the 
energy, the earnestness, the breadth and elevation of view, as well 
as the vigor and plausibility of argument brought to its defense by 
its champion. The debates of this session confirmed and extended 
to the borders of the State the reputation of Rollins as a forensic 
disputant; but they did not associate his name with any legisla- 
tion comparable in importance with that of the University Act of 
the previous session. 

After the adjournment sine die, he returned to Columbia and 
resumed successfully the practice of the law. From this wise com- 
parative retirement, where his powers were rapidly maturing, he 
once more emerged after three years, in 1844, as delegate to the 
National Whig Convention assembled in Baltimore. The nomina- 
tion of his illustrious chief and admired prototype, Henry Clay, 


was to him like a clarion call to battle, and in the memorable cam- 
paign of that year he canvassed the State in vigorous and effective 
support of his leader and in defense of the national policy of his 
party. The result, for a long time in doubt, is well known. The 
defection of the Free-Soil party in New York lost that " pivotal" 
State to the Whigs by the narrowest of margins and relegated Mr. 
Clay to private life. But the powerful political oratory of Rollins 
had done him much credit and had prepared his way to higher 
preferment. In 1846 the Whigs of Audrain and Boone counties 
sent him to the State Senate by a flattering majority. And now 
once more did education generally, and the University especially, 
find their single champion in a position to serve them. For four 
years both, and the latter notably, had languished. The State had 
made no effort to meet its constitutional obligations, nor had it 
the feeblest disposition to do so. It had been content to send a 
committee biennially to look at the patient, feel his pulse, and note 
his temperature. The committee came, examined, looked wise, 
went back, and reported the apparent facts. But neither diagnosis 
was made nor treatment suggested. Yet the symptoms were plain 
and unmistakable. The University was suffering from imperfect 
nutrition, it was smitten with marasmus, it was dying of inanition. 
The mass of brick and mortar was indeed imposing, but the endow- 
ment of about $100,000 was quite unequal to the support of the 
Faculty, which had to eke out a precarious existence from the fees 
of the students. Such was the state of the case when Senator Rollins 
moved the appointment of a committee to examine into the con- 
dition and prospects of the University. His able coadjutor in the 
House was Col. W. F. Switzler, who has faithfully and efficiently 
served the University in so many capacities, as legislator, as curator, 
as editor, and who of late years, as Chief of the Bureau of Statistics, 
clothed himself with distinction that made even the axe of the heads- 
man pause and hesitate. The committee did its duty, and the 
report, written by Rollins, discovered the evil that afflicted the 
University in the utter want of support vouchsafed by the State, 
but more especially in the debts hanging over it that were "par- 
alyzing its energies and lessening its means of usefulness." The 
remedy that he proposed was, of course, State aid, the only rational 
or even possible one. In amount it was entirely inadequate, and 


no one knew this better than he ; yet it reached or rather surpassed 
the full measure of liberality of which the Assembly was capable. 
But the report went much further : it recognized distinctly the re- 
mote as well as the proximate cause of the disorder. The schools 
throughout the State were unable to supply the University with 
students properly prepared for collegiate studies. One reason was 
that there was very little interest felt in education, higher or lower, 
generally throughout the State ; the other was that the majority of 
the teachers were bunglers, devoid alike of professional intelligence 
and of professional skill. The report animadverts upon this state 
of the case and proposes very rational means for correcting the evil, 
namely, to create a class of professional teachers, appointed and 
sent, as candidates preparing themselves for pedagogy, to the Uni- 
versity, there to be fitted especially for such work, under written 
pledge to devote themselves for a "certain specified time to teach- 
ing " after completing the prescribed course. Here, then, we have 
clearly expressed, not only the idea of making teaching a profession 
calling for careful preliminary professional training, the idea from 
which all of our Normal Schools have more recently sprung, but we 
have very feasible means proposed to reach the very desirable end. 
In order to secure the proper professional training at the University, 
the report recommends the establishment at the University of a 
chair of the " Theory and Practice of Teaching." The salary to go 
with this new chair was fixed at $i.OOO, to be paid out of the 
Common School Fund. The amount seems pitiful, at least when 
we consider what must be the attainments and abilities of the man 
who should fill and not merely occupy such a chair. He must be 
an almost universal scholar, a master of all knowledge ; for what 
could he say that was worth saying about either theory or practice 
of teaching geometry, unless himself a geometer ? or of teaching 
Greek, unless himself a Grecian ? But mere knowledge, no matter 
how broad or deep or exact, could not avail. Such a professor 
must be a psychologist, a metaphysician as well ; he should be 
familiar with the form as well as the content of the processes of 
thought with which the teacher has to deal ; he must be deeply 
versed in pedagogic and educational theories ; he must be an able 
expositor, an inspiring teacher, a philosophic thinker. Not even 
then were the services of such a man to be secured at such a 


salary, unless indeed by some strange and lucky accident. But to 
any such criticism Rollins would doubtless have answered with 
good and sufficient reason : " It was on account of the hardness 
of their hearts that I did this thing ; but in my own thought and 
purpose it was not so." In truth, despite his earnest advocacy, the 
Legislature was unwilling to do even this trifle for the University ; 
the task of its own higher education the State was unwilling to touch 
even with one of its little fingers. At the next session, in an elab- 
orate and well reasoned memorial of the Board of Curators to the 
General Assembly, signed by J. S. Rollins, J. H. Lathrop, W. A. 
Robards, committee, Major Rollins again brought forward his 
measure and this time secured its passage, but only in a maimed 
and modified form. Instead of the precise, comprehensive, and 
perfectly intelligible designation "Theory and Practice of Teach- 
ing," there was substituted the conventional symbolism " Normal 
Professorship," and the scanty Seminary Fund instead of the much 
larger Common School Fund was taxed with the maintenance of 
the chair, though it was the common schools that were to reap at 
least the primary benefit. What the Assembly, in fact, did was to 
concede the justness of Rollins's idea, and then to refuse all aid in 
its realization. The reasoning was very succinct, and worthy of the 
sepulchral logician in Hamlet : " The thing is right, and we, the 
State, ought to do it for you ; argal, we '11 make you do it yourself 
for us." Such was the genial manner in which the General Assem- 
bly contrived to meet its constitutional obligation " to support 
a University for the promotion of literature and the arts and 

It is interesting to note at this point by how many years the theory 
of Rollins preceded, outran the practice of the State. That was 
nearly half a century ago ; yet even now there is no such chair, 
no professor of Pedagogy in the University ; the subject is taught, 
or rather of necessity shunted, perfunctorily and under constant 
protest, as a trivial and irrelevant appendage to the chair of English. 
And yet its high importance in the college curriculum, especially 
for the development of primary and secondary instruction, is daily 
more clearly recognized. Says the Nation, whose deliverances are 
so apt to be significant, in an article on " Four Educational Meet- 
ings," under date of July 17, 1890: " At all these meetings the 


necessity of reform in Normal training, and the fundamental necessity 
of better qualification for teachers, were emphasized." 

It was not alone, however, the great cause of human progress, 
whether materially in the construction of bridges and railways and 
opening up the highways of commerce by land and by water, and 
in all other forms of " internal improvement," or spiritually, in 
founding, maintaining, developing the various educational agencies, 
primary, secondary, and especially higher, for freeing, enlightening, 
ennobling the mind of man — it was not this cause alone, however 
worthy or important, that enlisted the legislative efforts of Rollins 
in its behalf: the cause of humanity, helpless, hopeless, miserable, 
"smitten of God and afflicted," was equally near and sacred to his 
heart. The bill for the establishment of the first asylum ever founded 
in the State — the one at Fulton — for the insane, found in him its 
especial champion. In fact, his earnest, prolonged, and successful 
advocacy of a liberal policy, both educational and eleemosynary, 
does almost equal credit to his head and to his heart. 


It was not strange that Major Rollins should now find himself at 
the head of his party in the State. No arts of demagogue, no tricks 
of politician, no skill of party manager, but desert and service had 
won him that distinction. He had echoed no popular cry, had 
mounted no wave of transient emotion, had ingratiated himself with 
•no controlling interest or influence. The measures he had urged in 
no wise appealed to the masses, but rather repelled them by calling 
for expenditure of money. It is not the fading temporalities that 
so readily catch the untaught eye of the voter, but the unseen 
eternalities of truth and mercy that had engaged his closest atten- 
tion. Nevertheless, his energy, his ability, his fealty to the doctrines 
of his party, his distinguished legislative record, his knightly though 
courteous and affable bearing, yet more than all perhaps his persua- 
sive popular oratory, recommended him irresistibly to the convention, 
and he was nominated for Governor in 1848. He was but thirty-six 
years of age, not yet at the mid round of the ladder of life, and 


hitherto had been the favorite of fortune in his political aspirations. 
But now it was that Nemesis, whose watchful jealousy rarely 
forgets, began to overtake him. For no State was more firmly 
anchored to Democratic moorings than Missouri. To wrest her 
therefrom was an attempt, to say the least, sufficiently courageous. 
The Democratic nominee was a worthy opponent, the Hon. Austin 
A. King. The candidates agreed to a joint canvass of the State, a 
plan that undoubtedly presented then, and would seem to present 
now, a great many very marked advantages. The characteristic 
absurdity of political warfare is the immense waste of ammunition 
on "dead ducks." At a great Democratic "rally," heralded and 
advertised by all the devices of the printing-press, celebrated and 
accented by all the "pomp, pride, and circumstance" of the blare 
of brass and the tramp of processions, involving the outlay of hun- 
dreds of dollars in the importation of " distinguished speakers" and 
other necessary " legitimate expenses," the great bulk of the at- 
tendance will already be safely and certainly Democratic : the per- 
suasion is lost on persons already persuaded, the argument on minds 
already convinced. It is not sinners but the righteous that are 
called to repentance ; those of another political complexion attend 
in small numbers, and listen on the outskirts under manifest disad- 
vantages. Besides this, the statements of the speaker, however 
false, misleading, or exaggerated, pass unchallenged; his reasonings, 
however fallacious, go unexposed — a circumstance that makes 
neither for the orator's nor for the auditors' good. In the "joint 
canvass " both of these evils are corrected, the mass-meeting is 
converted into a deliberative assembly, the inflammatory harangue 
into an argumentative appeal, the monotony of assertion must be 
somewhat broken by attempts at proof, and the insipidity of the 
address is flavored by the zest and relish of debate. Such a canvass 
would have peculiar charm for Rollins, who was disposed perhaps 
too little to arouse, animate, and organize his supporters, but rather 
to convince, persuade, or at least conciliate his opponents. The 
contest fell in a presidential year and one of exceeding interest. 
Eight years before, the Whigs had been overwhelmingly successful 
in a campaign of merely popular enthusiasm inspired by martial 
memories, personal magnetism, social and sectional prejudice, and 
political catch-songs, under a military hero and by the help of methods 


that had at least the merit of novelty. Four years after this victory, 
the fruits of which Death snatched away from them prematurely, 
they had been barely defeated under an orator, a statesman, and 
above all a popular leader. They now once more forsook the pen 
for the sword, argument for exhortation, the senate-chamber for the 
tented field, the party leader for the popular hero, in the nomination 
of Gen. Zachary Taylor, a nomination, said the justly disappointed 
and disgusted Webster, "not fit to be made." Once more it was to 
be a campaign of acclaim and enthusiasm, and once more it was suc- 
cessful, buta Pyrrhus victory that brought ultimate ruin to the victors. 
But though on this occasion Major Rollins found himself, on national 
issues, supporting a chance candidate, the accident of Buena Vista, 
yet he did not lower his own canvas to catch the gale of popular 
feeling; on the contrary he conducted it throughout in the high 
regions of genuine statesmanship. The contest was a most exciting 
one. Like some perpetual tornado it swept over the State, shifting 
rapidly from town to town, from county to county, its center of dis- 
turbance. Here to-day, yonder yesterday, from far and near the 
scattered rural populace of both parties surged together to wait 
upon the high argument, to disperse and reassemble elsewhere to- 
morrow, following the progress of the candidates. Rollins pitched 
his contention aloft upon the plane of education and internal im- 
provement, themes already familiar to him through a decade's ad- 
vocacy, and grown dearer to his heart with each successive victory 
and defeat ; themes, however, that even to this day, after the lapse 
of half a century, have a strange and foreign and unlovely accent to 
many ears in every region of this proud commonwealth. The echoes 
of that loud strife were long since extinguished among us, its very 
memory is the pale and faded possession of a dwindling few. But 
the seed of enlightened and liberal State policy was not all strewn 
among thorns, by the wayside, or on stony ground; some fell upon 
good ground and yields year after year a most plenteous harvest. 
The immediate issue of the struggle, foreseen from the first, nor at 
any time doubtful, was the election of King ; but a full share of 
honor, if no lot in the fruits of victory, fell to Rollins, whose power- 
fully persuasive oratory, which won for him the sobriquet of " silver- 
tongued," had made very deep inroads upon the old-time Democratic 
majority. The Whigs in the Fifteenth General Assembly, 1848-9, 


cast their vote for Major Rollins as candidate for the United States 
Senatorship. This was, indeed, an empty honor, for the Democrats 
easily controlled that body and elected D. R. Atchison ; but it was 
none the less gratifying to its recipient as an expression at once of 
gratitude to him for party services and of unshaken confidence in 
him as a party leader. 

Major Rollins now resumed the active practice of his profession, 
the law. Though by nature incurably averse to the humdrum of the 
office, impatient of plea and counterplea, of replication and rejoinder, 
of demurrer and the countless other forms of the law's delay, yet the 
breathing realities, the warm human interests and sympathies, of 
criminal practice attracted him mightily and enlisted his highest fac- 
ulties. He was a most potent advocate, and his sway over the minds 
of a jury was imperious; his services were therefore in great demand, 
and nearly every criminal case of much importance sought him with- 
in a circle of ample and lengthening radius. But neither his educa- 
tional nor his political interest suffered abatement. In 1850 he re- 
ceived and accepted an appointment by Millard Fillmore — which 
able, judicious, and patriotic statesman had acceded to the Presidency 
made vacant by the death of Gen. Taylor, July 9, 1850 — on the 
Board of Examiners to visit West Point and report upon its con- 
dition. In 1852 he was an elector on the Whig Presidential ticket 
and canvassed the State with his usual vigor and ability. The great 
party, twice successful under a military chieftain, and never other- 
wise, had now rejected finally its supreme intellect, Daniel Webster, 
and once more sought to dazzle the eyes of the nation with the 
glamour and eclat of martial achievement. It nominated a warrior 
still more renowned than Taylor, Gen. Winfield Scott, the victor of 
Cerro Gordo, of Cherubusco, and of Chapultepec. But such an or- 
ganism is too complicate to live long without its head, and the Whig 
party was even then in the agonies of dissolution. Rollins had now 
devoted fourteen years of political activity to the earnest propagation 
of the principles of that party, and its collapse at this epoch ultimate- 
ly involved his own political destinies. However, the disaster was 
not immediately felt ; important triumphs at the polls yet awaited 
him, but henceforth there remained for him no secure political foot- 
hold. A graver and more terrible question than had ever yet divided 
the American people was now advancing insupportably to the front 


in all political discussions. It was the question of slavery. The 
founders of the Republic had beheld it from afar, with fear and trem- 
bling, as a speck no bigger than a man's hand on the rim of the south- 
ern sky. For the first thirty years of the national life it hung low 
on the horizon, the many were lulled into a sense of security, the 
wiser few looked upon it with awe and with bated breath. Suddenly 
in 1820, at the enchanted word Missouri, it loomed aloft, dark and 
muttering and tinged with lightning. The second generation of 
political prophets, led by Calhoun and Webster, but especially by 
Clay, the great High Priest of Compromise, sought to lay the hor- 
rid phantom by all sorts of sacrifices and incantations. But in vain ; 
year by year it grew more threatening, "more dreadful and de- 
formed." The heart of the people was hot within them; while states- 
men were musing, the fire burned. Within three years the illustrious 
trio had all sunk to night in its ominous shadow; now, in 1854, it 
darkened all the west, while the whole country resounded with 
fierce debate of the question as to the right of Congress to exclude 
slavery from the territories. Major Rollins was himself a slaveholder, 
but this fact did not obscure his logical perception of the constitu- 
tional powers of Congress, nor his political sense of the importance 
and propriety of their exercise. He maintained with boldness 
that it was both the logical right and the political duty of Congress 
to prohibit slavery in the Territories. The proslavery Democrats 
denied both. On these questions a sharp issue was joined, and 
there followed a most spirited contest for the State Legislature. Rol- 
lins was elected, with Odon Guitar, a young lawyer of great promise, 
as his colleague. Such a result, achieved in a slaveholding com- 
munity, was justly regarded everywhere with surprise and with 
peculiar satisfaction by his constituents and in fact by all except 
" rule-or-ruin " adherents of proslaveryism. The legislative ses- 
sion that followed, 1854-55, was one of peculiar interest both to the 
State and to the nation. A United States Senator was to be chosen, 
and three aspirants presented themselves : Benton, Atchison, Doni- 
phan. Of these Rollins supported the last, as the Whig candidate, with 
great earnestness, and in the course of the contest he was led into a 
controversy with Mr. Goode, who had been sent to Jefferson City 
by St. Louis, clothed with the reputation of a " great constitutional 
lawyer." He professed allegiance to the Whig party, yet he had 


voted for Pierce as against Scott, whose nomination, while it repelled 
the Northern, had failed to conciliate the Southern, element of the 
party. Goode, who, as a Southern Whig that made at least occa- 
sional pilgrimages to the tomb of Calhoun, had received eight votes 
in caucus for speaker, and had given the party nominee for Senator, 
Col. Doniphan, a very questionable support, had also allowed him- 
self to make an elaborate attack on Rollins in a speech extended 
through two joint sessions of the two houses of the General Assem- 
bly. To this assault Mr. Rollins replied in a compact speech of an 
hour, replete with all the elements of forensic eloquence, with logic, 
with sarcasm, with lofty sentiments of patriotism, with generous in- 
dignation at political inconsistency — all held in place and directed 
in movement by an exhaustive knowledge and ready mastery of all 
the material facts of history germane to the discussion. The ora- 
tion, which was not only a personal defense but also a general con- 
fession of political faith, was received on all hands with rapt attention, 
was repeatedly interrupted by general and prolonged applause, and 
left behind it a profound and abiding impression. It confirmed in- 
disputably the position of Rollins in the forefront of impassioned ar- 
gumentative oratory in the State of Missouri, and may be read even 
now again and again, from beginning to end, with lively interest. 

In 1856 Colonel Thomas Hart Benton, after thirty years' distin- 
guished, useful, and patriotic continuous service in the Senate of the 
United States, having failed of reelection in 1850 and again in 1854, 
offered himself as a candidate for Governor, thus seeking directly at 
the hands of the people that vindication of his conduct in refusing 
to follow the lead of Calhoun which had been denied him by the 
representatives in the Legislature. The campaign that followed was 
sufficiently remarkable. Benton had been honored by the people of 
Missouri as no other man in her history; in return he had glorified 
her name in the halls of national legislation by the side of Massachu- 
setts, of Kentucky, and of South Carolina ; if he did not quite attain 
unto the first three, he was easily prince among the thirty : now at 
last, far wiser than his party, having stepped aside and called Ave 
atque Vale unto it in its swift race to ruin, he threw himself upon the 
mercies of the ballot, the richest in years and honors, the ripest in 
wisdom and experience, the ablest in native strength of mind and 
character, of a departing generation of statesmen. Everywhere his 


candidacy was received with great enthusiasm. But the Democratic 
party, always admirable in organization, maintained its ranks almost 
unbroken, and a third party — that fatal fallacy in the logic of votes 
— the " Native American," by diverting a part of Benton's natural 
support, succeeded in electing his competitor, the Hon. Trusten Polk, 
by a small plurality. Immediately upon his inauguration, however, 
this gentleman was elected by the Democrats to the United States 
Senate. Another election for Governor was ordered, and the late 
victory nominated the Hon. Robert M. Stewart, a brilliant man, of re- 
markable talents highly cultivated. Once more the eloquent Whig 
of Columbia was chosen as banner-bearer of a now disrupted political 
organization. What the matchless prestige, the measureless energy, 
the endless resources of Benton had failed to compass, was now pro- 
posed as a prize to the seductive rhetoric of Rollins. As in 1848, so 
now again the rivals met on the hustings in a joint canvass. All the 
powers of the orator, physical and mental, imaginative and argumen- 
tative, were at their, culmination, and he led the forlorn hope com- 
mitted unto him with romantic chivalry. Few such contests in 
the history of any State have stirred up such deep and widespread 
interest. The ballots were finally cast, but as the returns came in 
the suspense was not relieved but was made intenser than ever ; for 
it appeared that the vote was almost exactly equally divided. And 
now began a strange, unheard of, and inexplicable delay in obtaining 
returns from a number of counties. At last, at the very limit of 
popular patience, a result was announced, a majority of two hundred 
and tliirty for Stewart ! The friends of Mr. Rollins have always in- 
sisted that there was foul play, that he really won a glorious victory, 
and that the returns were manipulated so as to convert it into a 
scarcely less glorious defeat. It would be difficult or impossible to 
make good these charges, but we who live in a day when such sinis- 
ter political methods have been reduced to an art and are practiced 
as a profession, to the complete annulment or reversal of the popular 
will, must regard their truth as antecedently probable and the circum- 
stances of the case as extremely suspicious.* Be this as it may, all 

*The larger towns and easily accessible districts cast majorities for Rollins, and his election 
was announced at first and confidently. Gradually, however, the remoter counties began to 
throw one by one their excesses into the other scale. For eight weeks the beam trembled as 
under the hand of a skilful chemist, and at last tipped by the merest minim for the Demo- 
crats, overloaded by the tardy returns from the "backwoods" precincts. 


the honor if none of the advantage of triumph fell to Mr. Rollins. 
He had done what none had been able to do before him ; he had ad- 
vanced the standard of his party, humbled and disheartened by an 
uninterrupted succession of defeats, to the very verge of victory ; he 
had tugged like a Titan, and had loosened if not indeed wrenched 
away from her moorings an empire commonwealth, from the very 
first insolubly anchored to Democracy. With this brilliant but 
futile achievement the twenty years' service of Major Rollins to 
Whiggism was ended; he now ceased to be a leader of the party, for 
there ceased to be any such party to be led. 

"Now of deeds done," saith Pindar, "whether they be right or 
wrong, not even Time the father of all can make undone the ac- 
complishment" ; yet it is a curious and interesting, and not altogether 
unprofitable, speculation to look into the possibilities as well as into 
the actualities of history ; to inquire what new channel the stream 
of events might have sought or dug out if, while trembling along 
some critical watershed, some chance pebble had deflected it this 
way rather than that. Let us suppose, then, that the count of votes, 
fair or unfair, had been varied by scarcely more than one in a 
county, that only one hundred and sixteen had been transferred 
to the Whig from the Democratic column. Then Rollins would 
have been elected Governor. As an administrator he was quite 
equal to himself as an orator, conceiving boldly and broadly, master- 
ing details with readiness, and executing with dispatch. In the 
fourth year of his quadrennium he would have found himself in a 
commanding political position, the chief executive of an important 
State, with the unique prestige of having won it out of party weak- 
ness by his own personal strength. In these days such a position 
would certainly attract, in those elder days it would most probably 
have attracted, to itself the gaze of the whole nation. Moreover, it 
would have been both geographically and politically median. In 
the disintegration of parties that proceeded apace from 1852 to i860 
all their ties were relaxed, and Rollins both could and would have 
made ready political alliances with all but the extremists of both 
North and South. A slaveholder himself, and ready to protect 
the " institution " to the full extent of the law, he was yet averse to 
its extension ; while captivated by the plausible note of popular 
sovereignty and respect for the people's will heard in the Kansas- 


Nebraska Act, he yet deplored the act itself as unwise in its provis- 
ions. Above all, however, he recognized that the only hope of 
slavery lay in prudence, conciliation, and a respite to agitation. 
One by one, as Calhoun in his last and greatest speech had vividly 
set forth, the ties between North and South had been snapping ; 
only one was now left, the Democratic party. Love for the Union 
was with Rollins an absorbing and controlling passion ; with that 
party, at least with that section of it which loved the Union more 
than all " institutions of the States," and which subsequently shed 
its blood not less than others freely in defense of the Union — with 
that party he would have found in the nascence of dissociation his 
almost certain affinity. On him the Whig remnant that voted for 
Bell and the moderate Democrats who voted for Douglas, along with 
many who followed the evil star of Breckenridge, could have united 
with mutual advantage, with the least possible concession, and with- 
out the surrender of any principle, and his political eminence would 
have designated him as the natural focus of such a union, while cer- 
tainly his abilities would not have unfitted him. Had wisdom even 
in moderate measure guided the councils of these moderate partisans, 
such a concentration might have been effected. Without any help 
from the Southern Democrats the Bell and Douglas parties would 
together have outnumbered the Republicans by 100,000, and have 
at least thrown the election of a President into the House of Repre- 
sentatives. Here the selection of Mr. Lincoln would have been 
quite impossible, and not less so the election of Breckenridge ; the 
only possible choice among the three would have been the middle 
one. How successfully he could have mediated between the ex- 
tremists is not easy to say ; but that pacific counsels would have 
prevailed and that the rupture would have been averted for at least 
four years longer seems certain ; or even if the seven Gulf States 
had rashly seceded, the upper tier of four might still have been held 
within the Union with such a sympathetic mediator in the President's 
chair. In any case, with the great mid-lying, Union-loving States 
in control of all branches of the Government, it seems hardly pos- 
sible that some wiser policy should not have been devised than that 
which paid for every negro slave three times in coin, ten times in 
blood, and a hundred times in the distortion and deformation of our 
social and political system. Certainly it is not forgotten that a great 


many ifs stand here in the way, nor that the probability of the 
compound event is far less than of any component ; and the reader 
is left to form his own judgment of the likelihood of any such com- 
bination as is here suggested. But whatever might have been its 
indirect incidence upon national politics, the election of Rollins in 
1857 would surely have brought with it a benediction to the State 
of Missouri. Her position in the conflict would have been far less 
equivocal, her course would have been kept steadily in line with 
that of the other loyal States ; her soil would not have drunk the 
blood of her sons nor sprouted therefrom a perennial harvest of 
implacable animosities ; her name would have been spared at least in 
large measure the odious celebrity of guerrilla warfare and banditti 
outrage ; and all this, not to speak of the general non-political ad- 
vantages of a vigorous, progressive, and enlightened administration. 2 


NONE of these things, however, were destined to be. The genius 
of fatuity was now presiding over the destinies of the southern 
Democrats. As their powers of enforcing their demands grew less 
and less, the demands themselves increased in extravagance. From 
his venerated sepulchre the idea of Calhoun stretched out over all 
the party an absolute sceptre. It was not enough to repeal the 
Missouri Compromise; Congress must not only not restrict, it must 
positively protect slavery, in the territories. But the spirit which 
the great political wizard, Douglas, had conjured up in the Kansas- 
Nebraska bill, the greatest legislative blunder in American history, 
though he could not control he would not follow ; the Democratic 
party fell in twain asunder, and the autumn of i860 saw four Presi- 
dential tickets in the field. Of these only one, the Republican, 
was conscious of its destiny ; the other three were at cross purposes 
and clashed like ignorant armies by night. Was it the pride of 
political consistency that induced Rollins to cast in his lot with the 
Constitutional-Union party under Bell and Everett, the remnant 
saved from the dissolution of the Whig party, the scarce seven 
thousand ? — for surely from the first its cause was utterly hopeless. 
At any rate he offered himself for Congress upon that ticket. His 


opponent was the Hon. John B. Henderson, a lawyer of signal 
ability, famous as the author of the Thirteenth Amendment abolish- 
ing slavery. But at this time he professed a political creed widely 
different. He was a follower of Douglas, the Independent Demo- 
crat. Neither of these gentlemen had at heart any sympathy with 
slavery; both would resist its aggressions, but neither would advance 
beyond the Constitution and the law. Of the twain Rollins would 
make the less obeisance to the Southern fetish. In their hearts 
both doubtless concurred in the aims, though not in the methods, 
of the Republican party. But the constituency was largely com- 
posed of slaveholders, and any avowal or confession of antislavery 
sentiment would have been instantly fatal, not only to their present 
aspirations, but also to their future usefulness and influence. The 
Northern concept of the slave was that of a " person held to labor 
or bondage " ; but the Southern concept was entirely different and 
far grosser, namely, of a piece of chattel property, like a horse, or 
cow, or table, or sofa. Hence the slaveholder regarded the aboli- 
tionist as little better than a highway robber, and all the native 
Anglo-Saxon sensitiveness concerning " rights of property " was 
aroused at the mere hint of emancipation. In this extreme irri- 
tability, this genuine hyperesthesia of the proslavery conscience, 
it was no less necessary to be wise as serpents than to be harmless 
as doves. It is a gentle hand that must beset to a festering wound. 
No wonder, then, that the candidates had to lay their words with 
scrupulous exactness in the balance, and that neither could quite 
escape the charge, though both perhaps the guilt, of insincerity. 
At length the delicate egg-dance was accomplished, the polls were 
closed, and the eloquence of Rollins, so often borne down by over- 
weighty odds, was this time clearly triumphant. The same day 
witnessed the consummation of Democratic folly in the election of 
Mr. Lincoln by a clear majority of fifty-seven in the Electoral Col- 
lege, but by a popular plurality only of 480,195 over and against 
a total majority of 944, 149 ! No Southern interest was yet in danger, 
for neither of the other branches of Government, legislative and 
judicial, could pass into Republican hands before the last days of 
Mr. Lincoln's administration. Nevertheless, the Southern leaders 
deliberately threw away their vantage — they descended from the 
hills to fight on the plain. The abstract right of secession was too 


dear not to be exercised ; since man has the right to shear the wolf 
plainly it is also his ditty to shear it ! It was a sad, proud privilege 
conceded to South Carolina, to start the race toward ruin by the 
"ordinance of secession," passed December 20, i860. Her six 
light-hearted sisters followed in quick succession, and four others, 
less frivolous, with reluctant step at last joined their company, 
being oppositely electrified by the call of President Lincoln for 
75,000 volunteers. 

Such was the status of affairs when in July, 1861, Mr. Rollins took 
his seat at the called session of the Thirty-seventh Congress. He 
lost no time in defining and declaring his attitude, which he main- 
tained firmly and consistently through four years, the most trying 
and arduous in the history of the Republic. Difficult indeed was the 
position of every legislator, but for none more difficult than for the 
Columbia statesman. His feet stood in slippery places that took hold 
of the ways of death. The constituency that he represented was in- 
deed loyal to the general Government and opposed to secession ; but 
the right to coerce a seceding State was conscientiously questioned 
by many who loved the Union perhaps not less than some in New 
England, who hailed the secession of South Carolina, Mississippi, 
Alabama, and Florida with a chorus of thanksgiving, shouting: "The 
Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice. The Covenant with Death is 
annulled ; the Agreement with Hell is broken to pieces." It was 
indeed the middle and western States that were especially ready to 
expend blood and treasure in defense of national unity, as their high 
percentage of enlistment of soldiers, considerably higher than in the 
northeastern States, clearly shows. Even Missouri, though thou- 
sands of her sons cast their lots with the Confederacy, yet swelled 
the ranks of the Federal armies with 109,111 fighting men, a 
number scarcely less in proportion to white population than was 
furnished, with the help of $53,000,000 in bounties, by ultra- 
patriotic New England. Of these only 1031 are reported as held 
to service on draft, while only 1638 furnished substitutes or paid 
commission. The war record of Missouri is indeed as creditable as 
that of Massachusetts, let her defamers say what they will. It was 
no reproach to the constituency of Mr. Rollins that many of them 
believed in State sovereignty and the right of secession ; or if 
reproach it was, least of all men could the New England extremist 


level it at them. For no new logical maxim had been propounded, 
no new principle of interpretation had been discovered, since the 
Hartford Convention (1814), when New England showed herself 
ready to " adopt the furthest stretch of State sovereignty, as stated 
in the Kentucky Resolutions." But to the North and East the war 
was known only as a distant, however harsh and painful, echo ; 
while the very air of Missouri shook with the uproar. No material 
interest of theirs was in any wise endangered by any issue of the 
war; but even a blind man might see that the success of the national 
arms must at least gravely imperil half the fortune of the slave- 
holder. Add to this, that the insult, injury, oppression, atrocious 
outrage, and murderous violence to which a helpless populace, whose 
utmost offense was a certain human " sympathy " with friends and 
relatives, were subjected at the hands of an alien invading soldiery, 
often passed the bounds both of description and of endurance, and 
it will appear that if the loyalty of the Northern abolitionist was 
a human virtue, the loyalty of a border slaveholder was a virtue 
almost divine. Such a slaveholder, loyal under the most exasper- 
ating conditions, was James Sidney Rollins. He lent the general 
Government a whole-hearted, vigorous, and courageous support, 
voting for all war measures and defending them in speeches of 
earnest and impressive eloquence. 

At this point it may be well to characterize more fully than has 
thus far been done the position of Mr. Rollins in the great national 
crisis. He was, above all things else, sincerely and passionately 
a Union man. His Unionism was primarily an emotion of the 
heart, and only in second line a theory of the head. The idea of 
a mighty people, one and indivisible, " lapped in universal law," 
sublime in strength beyond all fear of attack, glorious in all the arts 
of peace, happy in all the blessings of prosperity, its will an ordi- 
nance, its voice an oracle, its home the broad and fertile bosom of a 
continent, traversed up and down this way and that everywhither 
by the streams of commerce filling every artificial as well as every 
natural channel — this splendid imagination enthralled his fancy and 
engrossed his affections. It possessed his mind while he was yet a 
youth, nor relaxed its hold in his declining years. He found a 
subtile music like that of the spheres in the columns that told of our 
progress in material greatness, and the numbers of the statistician 


were to him scarcely less harmonious than the numbers of the poet. 
On the other hand, the vision of a dismembered nation, of two hos 
tile republics or a score of petty snarling principalities, of the tides 
of internal commerce broken and foaming against the walls of 
custom-houses — this hateful apparition repelled and dismayed him. 
No amount of logic could reconcile him to it. The metaphysical 
refinements and grammatical subtleties by which Calhoun might 
confound even Webster rebounded harmless from his practical in- 
telligence — they were for him but the insanity of dialectic. The 
act of acceding to might involve the right to secede from in a country 
school match, but not in a continental Republic. It could never 
have been the mind of the fathers to suspend the destinies of the 
nation on the construction of a prepositive particle. Such broad and 
common-sense generalizations were enough for Rollins ; but they 
were reenforced by his studies of classic history, which showed him 
how frail were the leagues and confederacies among the independent 
Greek States, and how easily they went down before the first shock 
of Roman power. Hence it was that he regarded Disunionists at 
the South and Disunionists at the North, Toombs and Phillips, 
Calhoun and Garrison, with equal abhorrence. As he scouted the 
metaphysical fanaticism that possessed the one, so he disowned the 
moral fanaticism that ruled the other. With slavery as an institu- 
tion of society, as an element of civilization, he had little sympathy. 
He honored free labor, and his preference was to see all labor free. 
He never escaped nor perhaps was solicitous to escape the imputa- 
tion of being at heart an Emancipationist. A large slaveholder 
himself, however, and a kind master, he did not perhaps recognize 
in slavery all its potencies for evil, and he yielded no large place to 
sentiment in his practical treatment of the matter. With him the 
supreme question was, " How preserve the Union ? " While the 
extreme North shouted, " Human freedom first and Union after- 
wards," and the extreme South answered, " State sovereignty first 
and Union afterwards," the voice of Rollins was, " Union first and 
all other things afterwards." He would save the Union with slavery, 
he would save the Union without slavery ; with or without, in any 
case, he would save the Union. Such was the end that he proposed, 
and in the pursuit of this end he was perfectly consistent, though, to 
be sure, not always uniform in his recommendations of means to 


attain it. Such uniformity, however, is to be neither desired nor 
commended. The most practicable way is not always a straight 
one : the path that winds along the side of a mountain may yet lead 
us safely and most easily to the top. 

But while Mr. Rollins was beyond many hearty and efficient in 
his support of the Administration in its war policy, in its determin- 
ation to suppress the Rebellion at any sacrifice of men and money, 
he was by no means blind or indiscriminate. He recognized clearly 
that there are some things more precious than blood, more costly 
than treasure ; and he well knew from history how often the neces- 
sity of the nation has been the opportunity of the tyrant. While 
pledging his own State to the last drop of blood, to the last ounce 
of treasure, in defense of the Union, the pride of mankind, the hope 
of humanity, he did not forget that the rights of American citizen- 
ship are sacred and inviolable. Accordingly, when the zeal, without 
knowledge, of Colfax proposed to expel Mr. Long of Ohio for the 
utterance of treasonable sentiments in the House of Representatives, 
Mr. Rollins sprang forward to the defense of the " Freedom of 
Speech " in a remonstrance equally lofty in patriotism and impas- 
sioned in eloquence. It was a brave and magnanimous act, especially 
in a man whose constituents were currently reported as disloyal. 
Again, when the policy of enlisting negroes in the Federal ranks was 
first promulgated, Mr. Rollins, who, however immovably set on extin- 
guishing the insurrection, however determined at every hazard to fly 
the Stars and Stripes, though in tatters, over every inch of Southern 
soil, could not forget that he was himself a Southron, and who 
would not without need offend the prejudices nor wound the feelings 
of his brethren — Mr. Rollins arose in the House and entered his 
strenuous protest. We all remember with what an outburst of in- 
dignant declamation "that old man eloquent," the immortal Chatham, 
greeted the proposal to employ Indians in warfare " against our 
brethren in America, endeared to us by every tie that can sanctify 
humanity." In like manner Mr. Rollins maintained that it was 
both needless and impolitic thus to irritate to incurable resentment 
the minds of the Southrons by an attempt to overrun them with a 
hireling soldiery of their own slaves and racial inferiors. This protest 
is particularly worthy of note as containing a distinct announcement 
of his own long-cherished hope of a complete emancipation. What 


practical method he would have recommended we are left to guess 
at. Most likely some plan of gradual manumission and qualified 
admittance to the right of suffrage v/ould have finally realized his 
grand idea of universal freedom and citizenship. He who regards 
the formidable features that the race problem presents now in this the 
third decade of freedom, can scarcely repress the idle wish that some 
other plan had been tried than the one that was actually adopted. 

But it was not only in Congressional debate that Mr. Rollins dis- 
played boldness and independence as well as ability : he was equally 
outspoken in his strictures on the Executive. The Proclamation of 
Emancipation was in his judgment defensible only as a military 
necessity, but was legally void and impotent — vox et prceterea nihil; 
and the issue would seem to have justified his opinion. It must not 
be inferred, however, that Major Rollins ever indulged in any captious 
criticism of the Executive, or failed at any moment to lend it in ample 
measure a cordial support. On the contrary, his relations with the 
President were at all times of the most unreserved and intimate 
nature, who found in him a tried and trusty and sagacious adviser, 
and who relied on him with especial confidence in all matters per- 
taining to the difficult and delicate administration in Missouri. 

In the autumn of 1862 Mr. Rollins was once more the conservative 
candidate for Representative from the Ninth District. His opponent 
was Colonel A. Krekel on the Radical ticket, afterward rewarded for 
his distinguished party service by the United States District Judge- 
ship for the Western District of Missouri, an office that he greatly 
honored — a gentleman of uncompromising integrity and very con- 
siderable legal ability and attainment, but narrow, intense, and par- 
tisan in doctrine and feeling even as Rollins was broad, generous, and 
national. Hitherto it had been the joy and strength of the latter to 
conduct his canvasses personally, on the hustings. But that course 
was now altogether impracticable, such was the distracted condition 
of the country. Accordingly he addressed a kind of general epistle or 
encyclical letter to his constituents, in which he vindicated his course 
of conduct as hitherto pursued and outlined it for the immediate fu- 
ture. This letter, as being the most carefully written, is also perhaps 
the most chaste and elegant of Rollins's literary productions that 
remain to history. The result of the contest could not be otherwise 
interpreted than as a very cordial indorsement of his patriotic but 


conservative bearing in Congress. All but two counties (St. Charles 
and Warren) gave him very considerable majorities ; the vote of the 
soldiers in the field was also cast in his favor, and he was reelected 
to his seat by the very great excess of 5,426. He signalized his re- 
turn to Washington by an oratorical effort of great merit, which com- 
manded the prolonged attention of the House of Representatives and 
extorted the highest encomiums from the Chief Executive of the 
nation. The occasion was as follows: The Hon. John B. Hender- 
son, whom Rollins in i860 had met and defeated at the polls after 
an animated contest, had now far more than recouped himself for 
that popular rebuff by a stroke of higher good fortune which sent 
him to the United States Senate. In the national struggle of i860 
Henderson had supported Douglas, who was charged, though per- 
haps unjustly, with being the Northern tool of the Southern Demo- 
crats, whose senatorial campaign against Lincoln has become historic, 
and who made such fatal and fatuous concessions to slavery in his 
Kansas-Nebraska bill with its doctrine of " squatter sovereignty." 
He did indeed close untimely his mistaken career with a vigorous 
plea for national unity; his last words became the rallying cry of the 
War Democracy, and for this great service at the end we may for- 
give the errors of a lifetime. He was neither, let us remember, the 
first nor the last man that has thought to play with fire without get- 
ting burned. But his views were peculiarly acceptable to Missouri, 
which cast her electoral vote for him, and it is very significant of the 
great strength of Rollins in a popular canvass, that he was able to 
carry the Ninth District, of slaveholding counties, against such a 
magical name as Douglas and against such a pleader as Henderson. 
But this latter gentleman had wisely discerned the signs of the times, 
and now leaping boldly upon the swift crest of events, he brought 
forward by resolution in the Senate that Thirteenth Amendment to 
the Constitution which should immortalize his own name and abolish 
American slavery forever. His resolution was lost in the House, 
June 15, 1864, by a vote of 94 ayes to 64 nays, thus failing of two- 
thirds ; but Mr. Ashley having changed his vote and moved to re- 
consider, the resolution once more came before the House, and, 
pending the same, Mr. Rollins, who had originally voted nay, arose 
on the 13th of January, 1865, and defended his intention to change 
his vote in the speech already mentioned, a speech that may be said 


to have closed his Congressional career with high honor and distinc- 
tion. He had not grown too old to learn ; he had always lent an atten- 
tive ear to the logic of facts, the persuasion of history ; he affected no 
pride of consistency; but when he changed his mind it was with a 
frank, open, and honest avowal of reasons. 

It was not merely, however, the war and its incidents, countless 
and important as they were, that engaged the attention of Mr. Rollins 
while a member of the national legislature. Internal improvement, 
the development of the material resources of the country, but still 
more the advancement of its educational and intellectual interests, 
subjects that enlisted his earliest efforts and provoked his first appear- 
ance in public, he did not now, amid the clash of arms, for a moment 
forget or suffer to lie in abeyance. The Agricultural College bill, 
appropriating a vast public domain to the endowment of colleges 
for the more especial promotion of such studies as bear more or 
less directly upon agricultural and mechanical pursuits and tend to 
elevate the plane of rural and other industrial life, found in him an 
advocate both able and earnest ; and it was his persistent contention 
that all the public lands, with reservations only in favor of preemp- 
tion and the homestead, should be devoted to the cause of education. 
This was not all, however. It was on the 5th of February, 1862, 
that he proved himself to be the legitimate successor of Benton, by 
introducing the celebrated "Bill to aid in constructing a railroad 
and telegraph line from the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean, and 
to secure to the Government the use of the same for postal, military, 
and other purposes." It was much discussed and variously amended, 
but suffered no substantial modification; finally, in July, 1862, it 
received the Presidential signature, and under its provisions the 
three great Pacific railways, the Union, the Kansas, and the Central, 
came into existence. So it was, with blood in the South and with 
iron in the West, that the States were cemented together. 

Thus, regard it as you may, the Congressional career of Mr. 
Rollins appears to have been equally industrious and honorable. 
Missouri has rarely been without able representation at Washington. 
For thirty years Benton was a close second only to the very first ; 
Schurz, Henderson, Blair, and others attained high and well deserved 
national reputations ; Vest and Cockrell, the latter in fidelity and 
industry, the former in boldness and brilliance, stand conspicuous 


among their fellows ; while R. P. Bland, though the chief apostle of 
financial heresy and economic delusion, is yet 

By merit raised to that bad eminence. 

Nevertheless, it is doubtful whether the best and highest interests 
of the whole people have, during any equal period, been more care- 
fully conserved or more zealously promoted at Washington by any 
Missourian than by James Sidney Rollins during the four eventful 
years of his Congressional incumbency. 

One of the most pleasing incidents with which his life of toil at 
the Capitol was varied was a visit to Boston as member of the Com- 
mittee of the House on Naval Affairs, at invitation of the merchants 
of that city. The committee met with a brilliant reception at the 
Revere House, the Hon. Edward Everett presiding, and it fell to 
Mr. Rollins to deliver the most elaborate response on the occasion, — 
though no less distinguished men than Judge Kelly and Gen. Gar- 
field were his associates, — a response marked at once by felicity of 
thought and propriety of diction. 


" An institution is the lengthened shadow of one man." — Emerson. 

Mr. ROLLINS withdrew voluntarily from public life on the expira- 
tion of the XXXVIIIth Congress. During his absence at Washington 
through four years of civil strife his affairs at home had fallen into 
great disorder, and his presence and personal attention were imper- 
atively required for the reconstruction of his private fortunes. But 
his great abilities, his large experience, and his wide knowledge of 
men and affairs could not long be allowed to rest in idleness or 
seclusion. In less than two years — in fact, at the next election in 
1866 — the citizens of Boone County, by an almost unanimous vote, 
returned him to the State Legislature. The office could indeed no 
longer bring him any honor, nevertheless such an expression of 
confidence from those who knew him best set a new and impressive 
seal of popular approval to his Congressional record. The position, 
moreover, was really a most important one. A new Constitution, 
an emanation from the head and heart of the Hon. Charles D. 


Drake, had been adopted in 1865, and all the laws of the State had 
to be revised into consistence with its provisions. All the wisdom, 
adroitness, conservatism, and magnanimity of such a patriot as 
Rollins were now needed to temper the radicalism that was rampant 
at the Capitol. It was in this important Assembly that he opened 
a long series of services to the University that not only reestablished 
that seminary on a solid foundation, but also placed the keystone 
in the arch of his own fame. Friends of education, at least of the 
common schools, were not wanting in that body, as indeed they 
have rarely been wanting in Republican conclaves, and with these 
he cooperated heartily and efficaciously in organizing the system of 
public schools in the State ; but as a friend of the University he was 
almost alone. The flame of life in this seminary was indeed barely 
flickering. For six years the devotion of President Lathrop and his 
few faithful colleagues had fed it with precious but scanty oil. He 
at last had departed, in his final moments clasping the hand of his 
true yoke-fellow, Rollins, whose ear it was that caught the last 
accents, in consciousness of duty done, that fluttered from his lips. 3 
His successor-elect, Dr. Daniel Read, found every interest of the 
University in a dismal plight : its attendance shrunk to one hundred, 
its annual income to seven thousand, its corps of teachers to six ; its 
buildings in ashes or falling to ruin, having been made the barracks 
of a Federal soldiery; itself a bone of political contention, and the 
prey of local factions ; encumbered with a debt of $20,000, and so 
discredited that its warrants were at 40 per cent, discount ; nay, 
more and far worse, the party in power was intensely hostile to the 
whole institution as having its site in a town reported to be disloyal. 
In vain had Col. W. F. Switzler, as member of the Constitutional 
Convention held in St. Louis, 1865, sought to secure recognition of 
the University as the "seminary of learning" contemplated in the 
Constitution ; his proposition was lost by a decisive vote. The deep 
degradation into which the University had fallen was in part the 
immediate and necessary result of that intestinal strife which had so 
torn the vitals of society throughout Missouri ; in part, however, it 
was a more remote but equally certain result of that settled indif- 
ference towards the concerns of higher education which so long 
affected the public mind of the State and which in many sections 
still affects it. Perhaps, indeed, it was too much to expect of border 


culture, of inchoate civilization, that it should lift its thoughts to 
art, literature, and science, when such a grave and instant and 
desperate problem as African slavery lay unsolved before it. Nearly 
twenty years had now elapsed since Mr. Rollins had been in a 
public position to champion the cause of the University, though all 
the while, in private station, as citizen, he had fostered the disin- 
herited child of the State with the friendliest attentions. Now, how- 
ever, upon resuming his seat in the halls of legislation he showed all 
his old-time ardor in its behalf. It was he who framed, introduced, 
and pressed forward to successful issue all the measures for the relief 
of the University. Such were the appropriation of $10,000 to re- 
build the president's house, which had been destroyed by fire, and, 
what was far more considerable, of 1 ^ per centum of the State's 
revenue, less 25 per centum of the same already designated for the 
support of the common schools. It was not alone that this wise en- 
actment secured an addition of about $16,000 yearly for the main- 
tenance of the University, thus at one stroke more than trebling its 
annual income, but much more significantly it secured a distinct and 
unequivocal recognition from the State itself that the seminary seated 
at Columbia was the University of the State of Missouri which the 
State was constitutionally pledged to maintain — a recognition res- 
olutely denied to the pleading of Switzler in 1865, nor hitherto at 
any time more than passively conceded. Up to March the nth, 
1867, when this bill became a law, life and death had been casting 
dice over the University. It was meet that the same statesman whose 
youthful enthusiasm had founded it should now, twenty-eight years 
later, in a rugged crisis redeem it by his maturer wisdom. An ad- 
mirable feature of this statute was the increasing provision that it made 
for the increasing wants of the University, keeping step with the 
increasing resources of the State ; too good it was, indeed, to last, 
and subsequent legislation has failed to preserve it. 

There was still another act framed by the same hand, promoted 
by the same persons, passed at the same session, and approved on 
the same day — the act establishing the Normal Department in the 
University. This measure was wisely conceived and well intended 
to bring gradually into being a special class of teachers not only 
equipped with adequate knowledge, but carefully instructed in the 
highest art of their profession ; its immediate reaction would be upon 


the primary and secondary schools throughout the State, while only 
its remoter effects could be felt in the increased and improved 
attendance at the University ; but its final utility would, of course, 
depend mainly upon the manner of its execution. 

Even this was not all, however. It was during this session of the 
General Assembly that Mr. Rollins brought forward a bill to estab- 
lish the Agricultural and Mechanical College as a department of 
the University, and to vest in the Board of Curators the 330,000 
acres of land with which the Act of Congress of July 2, 1862, had 
endowed it, an act that he himself had aided in passing. Mr. Rollins 
urged the passage of this important bill by all manner of suasion, 
but a minority of the House remained unshakably rooted in hostility 
to Boone County, pleading the disloyalty of its citizens, though 
possibly controlled by a straiter patriotism, and determined not to 
promote even its educational interests. As early as January 24, 
1866, in a letter to State Senator Muench, Mr. Rollins had over- 
borne every rational objection to the union of the College with the 
University, and had shown the mutual advantages to be derived 
from their association; in a speech in the House, March 9, 1867, 
he had vigorously refuted the charge of peculiar disloyalty brought 
against his fellow-citizens. All, however, was of no avail, and on 
the 20th of March, 1867, by a vote °f 62 ayes to 57 noes the bill 
failed of a majority of the whole House. 

Rollins had no desire to return to the Legislature, being much 
chagrined by the defeat of this measure, but the nominee of his 
party, the Conservative, for the Senatorial District of Audrain, 
Boone, and Callaway Counties, Mr. David H. Hickman, having been 
disfranchised, his own name was substituted against his wishes 
almost on the eve of the election. The rival candidate was no 
other than the Supervisor of Registration, Mr. Conklin, who, unal- 
terably set on preserving the ballot free from every taint of disloyalty, 
had in conjunction with the county registrars disfranchised four out 
of every five voters by erasing their names from the lists of regis- 
tration ! He had blundered egregiously, however, on the side of 
moderation, in not erasing the fifth one also, for the returns showed 
him defeated by a large majority. It was nothing but human nature 
that he should appeal to the Legislature, which was of his own 
political complexion, to save him from the consequences of his own 


misplaced confidence and excessive generosity. Long and bitterly 
he contested the election, but it was too late; the error was irrepar- 
able, and the Senate finally by a unanimous vote confirmed the 
election of Rollins. It was then proposed to present Mr. Conklin 
a consolation purse of $208 (mileage) as a slight recognition of his 
brilliant and conscientious, however partial and ineffective, efforts 
to preserve the ballot immaculate from infection of treason. The 
beneficiary of his laxity, Mr. Rollins, with singular lack of magnan- 
imity, opposed the motion, emphasizing such trivial though well- 
attested and finally conceded facts, as that Mr. Conklin was all 
along consciously ineligible to the office in question; that he was 
consciously disqualified as a voter; that in taking the oath as Super- 
intendent of Registration he had consciously sworn falsely; that he 
had fled from Missouri to Iowa and from Iowa to Missouri to escape 
military service in the United States army. Such purely ethical 
considerations might, indeed, when presented with vehemence, move 
a sympathetic gallery to applause ; but not so easily a Senate, sedate 
and accustomed to look below the merely moral character down 
into the political import of an action. By a vote of 21 to 9 the 
resolution was carried. Let us hope that the amount sufficed and 
was piously applied to deliver him by railway finally and forever 
from an inappreciative constituency. 

And now once more began the struggle over the location of the 
Agricultural and Mechanical College, in the introduction by Mr. 
Rollins of his bill to engraft it on the University. The intensity of 
the opposition had not in the mean time abated, neither was it of a 
nature to be broken by any weight of argument. Otherwise the 
reiterated proofs of Rollins and Russell, Switzler, Todd, and Read, 
in the forum and in the press, would have been enough. But they 
were not nearly sufficient, and availed in no wise to shake the inter- 
ested prejudices of the average legislator. When his victim proved 
plainly to the hotel-keeper that his bill was exorbitant beyond all 
reason, the latter smiled sweetly and replied, " But, my dear friend, 
you see I need the money." The administration of the whole body 
of public trusts was regarded as an enormous Christmas pie ; and 
why should Boone County, having already pulled out one of the 
finest plums, insist on pulling out another ? Perceiving that the bill 
could not pass in a form unmutilated by amendments, Mr. Rollins 


now began to make judicious concessions, and chief among them that 
one-fourth of the proceeds from the sale of land should be given to 
a School of Mines, which was afterward founded at Rolla as part 
of the University. Other provisos required certain large gifts of 
land and money from the County of Boone, which together actually 
reached the sum of $90,000. The fact was that an eager rivalry for 
the location of the College had sprung up among a number of counties, 
and bids of as much as $200,000 were made by Jackson, Greene, 
and others. Against such competition the very adroitest management 
was necessary to secure the consolidation of the highest institutes of 
learning at Columbia. The ideal problems of pure mathematics may 
often be solved exactly ; the actual problems that arise in its applica- 
tions can at best be solved only approximately. So in civics and the 
higher politics the ends of exact Justice and Right must be kept 
clearly and steadily in view and must be constantly aimed at; but 
we must often rest content with only partial attainment. Com- 
promise is necessary to practical statesmanship, which is always 
more or less a wise opportunism. 

The original bill, decorated with twenty -four amendments, was put 
to final vote and carried on the 10th of February, 1870, wherewith 
a legislative contest of four years was ended. It remained to arouse 
the people of his county to meet the obligations imposed by the 
enactment, by no means a light or easy matter. To this task Mr. 
Rollins addressed himself in an elaborate letter to the County Judges, 
under date of March 14, 1870, the Assembly being yet in session, in 
which he defends his concessions and urges the county to action by 
convincing reasons. He also repels the charges of interested motives 
that had been brought against him, and vindicates the uprightness 
and straightforwardness of his conduct. The response of his fellow- 
citizens was gratifying. All the conditions of the bill were promptly 
met, and the Agricultural and Mechanical College was permanently 
engrafted upon the University. So bitter, however, was the disap- 
pointment of the rival counties that a call for separation has more 
than once made itself heard, though of course not heeded. If the 
College has not quite flourished according to ardent wishes, not to 
say reasonable expectations, the explanation is not to be sought in 
its amalgamation with the University, but rather in the inadequacy 
of State support, as also in a certain congenital logical error, a confu- 


sion of notions, which afflicts both it and its fellows throughout the 
Union. The sales of land have thus far reached the sum of $3 1 2,000 ; 
about 60,000 acres remain unsold, which may raise the total to 
$400,000. The recent Act of Congress, which has just received the 
Presidential signature, will yield at the maximum, when deduction is 
made for the support of a negro Seminary, about $20,000 per year, 
equivalent to an additional sum of $400,000 invested at 5 per centum. 
Accordingly, this important measure has practically endowed the 
University at the hands of the general Government with $700,000. 
If the Experiment Station, as succursal to the Agricultural College, be 
counted with its income of $15,000, the yield of $300,000, it will ap- 
pear that the total consequential practical endowment secured to the 
University at Columbia from the general Government by four years 
of legislative struggle on the part of Rollins and those about him 
foots up the very considerable sum of $1,000,000. 

This was much the most difficult of all his legislative achievements, 
and he would have been the last man to depreciate the valuable and 
even essential aid which was rendered by Read and Russell, Switzler 
and Todd, not to mention others no less zealous. 

There yet remained much, however, to be done before the recon- 
struction of the University could be considered accomplished and 
its continued existence assured. It has been said that, when Amer- 
icans wish to build a monument, the first thing they do is to appoint 
a committee to collect the money, and the second is to inquire what 
became of the money that the committee collected. Mr. Rollins, 
however, was equally solicitous to gather up funds for the Univer- 
sity and to provide safeguards against their dispersion. Accordingly 
he framed, introduced, and urged to final passage a bill, approved 
February 9, 1 870, for the safe investment of the old Seminary fund of 
$122,000 at six per centum per annum, a bill which, with the far 
more comprehensive one of 1883, his keen financial sense reckoned 
as among the most important ever framed in the interest of the 
University; and now in the Twenty-sixth General Assembly, through 
whose session his Senatorship of four years extended, he brought 
forward and successfully advocated an act approved March 29, 1872, 
which directed the Governor to cause to be issued one hundred and 
sixty-six coupon bonds of one thousand dollars each, payable in 
twenty years from July 1, 1872, with interest at five per centum per 
annum. Of this issue, $35,000 went to the School of Mines at Rolla, 


$31,000 towards liquidation of debt and completion of the Science 
Building, and $100,000 to the permanent endowment of the Univer- 
sity. Now, at last, a moderate income being secured beyond per- 
adventure for the " seminary of learning " as result of the struggle 
prolonged through thirty-three years, Mr. Rollins took the decisive 
step of making all higher learning except the strictly professional, 
practically free to the youth of Missouri, by the act approved April 
1 , 1872, which fixes the matriculation fee at a maximum often dollars. 
Herewith, then, was the wide round of his direct legislative service in 
behalf of the University completed, and by a deed clearly marked 
with the nobleness and generosity of his character. Surely, then, it 
was not strange nor in any degree unnatural or extraordinary, that, 
on the expiry of the session of the General Assembly and the return 
of Major Rollins to his home in Columbia, all such as felt deep or 
immediate interest in the University should be moved as by a com- 
mon impulse to some public recognition of the unique relation toward 
that Seminary in which Mr. Rollins had fairly placed himself by virtue 
of a long record of meritorious offices — a record that may safely chal- 
lenge parallel in the lives of friends of learning in America. The stu- 
dents assembled in mass convention, and adopted with unanimity and 
enthusiasm the following resolutions reported by Henry W. Ewing : 

Resolved, That as representing a portion of the youth of the State of Missouri, 
we tender to the Hon. James S. Rollins our thanks for his eminent services in both 
branches of the Legislature to the cause of public education in our State. 

Second. That as students of the State University, we are especially indebted to 
him for long continued and unwearied efforts to establish a State University on a 
firm and endurin g basis — an institution of broad and universal culture, which with 
its School of Mines and other industrial and professional departments will be both 
a blessing and an honor to the State of Missouri. 

Third. That we tender him our congratulations on the proud achievement which 
has crowned his efforts in behalf of the University, and that we honor the present 
Legislature for its liberality and enlightened patriotism in the establishment and 
upholding of institutions which constitute the true glory of a commonwealth. 

Fourth. That in honoring Major Rollins and expressing to him our grateful 
acknowledgments, we by no means forget, nor pass by, the Representatives of this 
county and other members of both branches of the Legislature, whose names we 
shall ever delight to honor for their zeal and efforts in behalf of those measures 
which have given a firm foundation to our University. 

Fifth. That we rejoice in the general progress of enlightened sentiment among all 
classes, and trust that the day is not far distant when Missouri will stand among the 
first of our American States for those great institutions which adorn and ennoble 
modern civilization ; and to this end, as sons of Missouri, we consecrate our lives. 


The Faculty voted a public expression of thanks, in rendering 
which before a large audience the President, Dr. Daniel Read, made 
use of the following language : 

Major Rollins : In behalf of the Faculty of this University, I am author- 
ized and directed in this public manner, in the presence of this Board of Curators, 
of the students, and of this assembled multitude, to tender to you the expression 
of their heartfelt thanks for your preeminent services to this institution of learn- 
ing — services begun in the years of your early manhood, continued in the fullness 
and maturity of middle life, and increased with the experience and wisdom of 
advancing years. 

Especially, sir, we thank you for this best crowning effort in devising and secur- 
ing the late act of the Legislature by which our University is placed upon a firmer 
and more secure basis. 

In honoring you, sir, we by no means ignore or forget the labor of others, es- 
pecially of our honored curators, J. W. Barrett, Henry Smith, Col. S. G. Williams, 
nor of the representatives of this county, Messrs. Newman and Bass, and many 
others from different parts of the State whom I cannot name on this occasion. 

Especially in connection with this bill the name of the Hon. Senator Morse, of 
Jefferson, deserves consideration and honor, as, but for his intervention and know- 
ledge as an experienced legislator, we should, at the present at least, have failed 
of our just right. 

But, sir, we know that in every struggle you were the leader — the corypheus of 
the measure. 

We, who have had some experience, know full well the cost of such success — 
the labors by night and by day — the contests, the misgivings, the hope, the fear; 
but you have the satisfaction of knowing that it is an achievement, not only for 
this generation, but for all generations to the end of time. When the struggle is 
over, and your nervous system becomes relaxed after unwonted tension, and you 
lqok back upon the legislative battle and its victory, what amount of money (if 
money could be put into the balance) would induce you to encounter all that you 
passed through to win success? But, sir, you have higher and better reward, and 
when all the strife and contests of party politics are over with you, when personal 
antagonisms are forgotten, or remembered only to remind you how small and 
worthless they were, you will then feel that the founding and upbuilding of this 
University was worthy the best efforts of your life. You will feel a just and proud 
satisfaction. By others it will be said and written of you — u Non sibi sed patriee ." 

Your life, sir, will be crowned with the blessings of the young men and young 
women of the State of Missouri; and after you have passed away your name and 
memory will be cherished as a public benefactor. 

The prayer of this Faculty is that you may live to see the University all that 
you have labored to make it, and that your own life may be as long and happy 
as it has been honored and useful. 

Still more emphatic, and most decisive of all, was the action of the 
Board of Curators. Prof. Edward Wyman of St. Louis, himself a 


distinguished educator, presented the following preamble and 

Whereas, The long and continued services of the Hon. James S. Rollins, com- 
mencing thirty-four years ago in the introduction of a bill by him in the House 
of Representatives of the General Assembly of this State providing for the location 
of the State University, and the various measures since that time of which he has 
been the author and earnest and able advocate, terminating with the act passed 
at the last session of the Legislature making provision for the payment of the 
debts of the institution, enlarging its library, completing the Scientific Building, 
and adding to its permanent endowment, deserve a proper recognition and ac- 
knowledgment by this Board ; be it therefore 

Resolved, That this Board are deeply impressed with the value of the important 
services rendered by Hon. J. S. Rollins and other friends of education, in plac- 
ing the University of Missouri upon a solid and permanent foundation, where the 
youth of the State may enjoy equal advantages for higher education with the 
youth of other States of the Union. 

Second. That he has won the honorable title of " Pater Universalis Missouri- 
ensis," and that the thanks of this Board are hereby tendered to him for his great 
efforts to promote the prosperity, usefulness, and success of this institution. 

Third. That the Secretary of this Board cause to be prepared in some suitable 
form a copy of the foregoing resolutions, signed by the Vice-President and the 
Secretary, and with the seal of the University attached, and presented to the 
Hon. James S. Rollins in the name of this Board. 

These resolutions were recommended to the Board in earnest 
remarks and brief recitals of history by Prof. Wyman, the Rev. John 
D. Vincil, and Col. W. F. Switzler, and were carried unanimously. 

But not any nor all of these official recognitions of the unique 
distinction of Major Rollins with respect to the University were 
felt to express adequately the personal gratitude, esteem, and affec- 
tion with which his high desert in the matter of education had in- 
spired the patrons of learning in all parts of the commonwealth. 
It was a happy thought, therefore, on the part of a number of friends 
both of the man and of the cause that he had made so especially his 
own, to present to the Board of Curators for permanent location in 
the University building a life-size portrait of Major Rollins, exe- 
cuted by that distinguished " Missouri artist," George C. Bingham. 
These gentlemen intrusted the matter to a committee of eleven, 
who directed a Letter of Presentation to the Board of Curators, 
through its Vice-President, the Hon. Elijah Perry, in which letter 
the labors of Major Rollins in behalf of the University were briefly 


but impressively recounted. The Board accepted the gift by the 
following resolution, June 26, 1873 : 

Resolved, That we accept with gratitude the proposed donation, as one emi- 
nently fitting and appropriate, and as commemorative of the life and labors of 
a distinguished citizen who, by his eminent public services, and especially by his 
earnest and untiring efforts in the cause of education, has endeared himself to 
the masses of the people, and has deservedly commanded the highest considera- 
tion of the members of this Board. 

On the same day at two P. M. the Hon. W. F. Switzler, a worthy 
second to Rollins in the multitude and devotion of his services 
to the University, pronounced the address of presentation ; the 
response of acceptance from the Board was delivered by Mr. A. J. 
Conant of St. Louis, while a few well-chosen words of acknowledg- 
ment from Major Rollins himself rounded gracefully the ceremonies 
of this pleasing incident. 


The sketch in hand is not a history, much less a chronicle ; the 
order of thought rather than of time is intentionally followed, and 
no apology is offered for now momentarily reverting the gaze back 
upon certain events anterior to some already noted. These may not 
be passed over wholly without remark, for their testimony is valu- 
able to the breadth of view with which Mr. Rollins regarded the 
problems of public education, and to the liberal, far-sighted, and 
effective policy that he brought to their solution. We have seen 
how early he conceived the notion of forming a special class of 
trained professional educators who were to make teaching a life- 
work, to take the place of the transient throng of lawyers, preachers, 
physicians, and politicians in chrysalis, who follow teaching mere- 
ly as a temporary makeshift, who don the didactic gown as the 
insect its cocoon while awaiting transfiguration into some nobler 
form of being. The West is even now following his far lead in this 
matter at a slow but accelerated pace. His interest in this eleva- 
tion of teaching to the full rank and dignity of a learned (rather of 
the learned) profession did not abate with the establishment of a 
" Normal Professorship" at the University; but as Chairman of the 


Committee on Education he reported a bill that called into being 
the State Normal Schools at Warrensburg and Kirksville — institu- 
tions that have flourished greatly in spite of inadequate support by 
the State, that have undoubtedly shed far and wide a beneficent 
influence, and that have already accomplished a work of vast mo- 
ment in raising the average of fitness among the teachers in the 
State, however wanting it may be found even yet when weighed 
in the balance of our just desires. 

Another act, not so much of enlightened and sagacious statecraft 
as of generous humanity, which illumined the close of Rollins's career 
as legislator, and is fit to be ranked with his earlier advocacy of a 
similar measure, was his vigorous and successful support of the bill 
establishing an Asylum for the Insane at St. Joseph. One such in- 
cident in the career of a law-maker may mean little or nothing at all ; 
but they become full of significance and determinative when strewn 
thick along the whole course of conduct from beginning to end. 

It was in 1869 that Governor McClurg nominated Major Rollins 
a Curator of the University of the State of Missouri. To him who 
bears in mind the facts of the University's history as already set 
forth, it must be apparent that every consideration both of utility 
and of propriety must not only have indicated this nomination, but 
also have pointed to him with fixed and unerring finger as the man 
of all men fitted to be President of the Board of Curators, and he 
was indeed elected to this position in June, 1869, a position that he 
held continuously from that date until his resignation, enforced by 
ill health, on his seventy-fifth birthday, April 19, 1886. This pres- 
idency was in itself but a little thing ; it was what its incumbent 
chose to make it. Of salary, emoluments, perquisites, of every 
material attraction it was bare utterly. Perhaps it did indeed clothe 
its occupant with honor and distinction, but the honor was entirely 
empty and the distinction not very generally desirable. It did not 
lift him aloft and conspicuous in the eyes of the people, inviting their 
regard and wooing their suffrages ; it did not arm him with the long, 
keen, and flexible weapon of political influence. The President of 
the Board of Curators was then, and is now, to the majority of elec- 
tors, more a myth than a reality ; at best their notions of him are 
pale and formless ; he has no patronage to distribute, and is wide off 
from the line of official promotion. Moreover, in the administration 


of such an office there was ample room for choice of policy. He 
might choose, from love of ease or from uncertainty of conviction, 
from lack of clearly elaborated ideas or from want of interest in a 
duty unrelated to his own happiness or success in life, to discharge 
it in a rather perfunctory manner, to drift listlessly with the stream 
of events, to affect a cautious laissez faire, to make of himself a mere 
parliamentary convenience or even a mere machine to register and 
execute helplessly the will of another ; and against such a worldly- 
wise election of policy it would be difficult to make any severe crit- 
icism hold fast. On the other hand, he might take his duties alto- 
gether more seriously ; he might magnify his episcopate of higher 
culture ; he might conceive of his trust as a high and holy and 
most important one ; he might lay all its cares close to his heart 
and bind them about the neck of his memory ; he might mark out 
distinctly a line of policy and might rack his brain daily to advance 
the University along it. It was natural, yea, inevitable that Major 
Rollins — such were his antecedents — should take this latter more 
earnest view of his functions, and through the half-generation of his 
incumbency he maintained it consistently. Perhaps no other Univer- 
sity in the Union has ever enjoyed for so long a period uninterrupt- 
edly in its general extra-scholastic administration the assiduous 
fostering and nurturing care of one man so thoroughly competent and 
so entirely devoted ; certainly no other has ever needed it more. It is 
the single, towering, isolated peaks, the Matterhorns, the Everests, the 
Chimborazos, that catch the eye, that engage the interest, that en- 
thrall the imagination of artist, of savant, and of poet. Yet, after all, 
these are but small and insignificant fractions of the whole mountain- 
range that lifts them clearly into ether on its shoulders ; the great 
mass of elevation lies scarcely noticed only a little below, amid nameless 
plateaus and countless humbler summits. In estimating the average of 
altitude, it is these latter that control and regulate; the glittering min- 
arets count but little in the vast cathedral of nature. So, too, it is 
the lofty deeds of legislation for the University that fasten the gaze 
in contemplating the career of Rollins, and that transmit his name 
and fame to posterity. Yet these form but the merest fraction of the 
grand bulk of his services, which, like the Andes, stretch broad and 
long through the whole history of that seminary. It is these, — the 
daily solicitude, the nightly watch-care, the unwearied vigilance, the 


unresting concern that trod many ways in the windings of thought, 
the ever-wise counsel, the always ready assistance lent in plenteous 
measure freely and to all alike, but above all the inextinguishable 
ardor of devotion which consumed brain and heart, — it is these, all 
long since fused into one undistinguished whole, that constitute the 
mass of his services and that raise their general level so exceeding 
high. In all his manifold relations to the personnel of the Univer- 
sity he seems to have borne himself far above all considerations of 
private preference, of partisan prejudice, of political or ecclesiastical 
affiliation. Such feelings were certainly as native to his breast as to 
another's ; otherwise he had been more or less than human. But 
they were held in check and submissive to an all-dominating zeal 
for the advancement of the University. The relation of a man to 
the University was the important one that swallowed up all others. 
The views, political or other, of the chief members of the instructing 
or the governing staff might have been, and in fact sometimes were, 
directly counter to his own ; their modes of thought and of action 
might accord ever so little with those he most approved : all of these 
things, however, could move him not greatly nor disturb the deeper 
harmony of that common interest that to him was supreme. " What 
then?" he might say with the Apostle ; " only that in some wise, 
whether by this or by that, the University is furthered ; in this, it 
is, I rejoice, yea, and rejoice I will." Such a complete subjection 
of natural impulses to a single emotion would scarcely have been 
possible, even with the best intentions, to a man more zealous as a 
partisan, of a narrower intellectual horizon, or of less liberal mood 
than Rollins. The devotion, the tireless industry in the pursuit of 
the University's good here claimed for him was a matter of common 
notoriety in his lifetime ; it is a possession of memory inalienable 
among his surviving contemporaries ; it has been repeatedly recog- 
nized distinctly and impressively, officially and otherwise; and now 
to attempt to set it forth more clearly in evidence would be a super- 
fluous argument, to prove at midday that the sun does shine. Let 
it suffice, then, to remark that both Lathrop and Read, throughout 
their administrations, leaned confidently upon him as upon an "un- 
bending invincible pillar " ; his home was their constant and familiar 
resort ; and in separation their intercourse with him by mail was almost 
daily and of the most unreserved and intimate nature. In the case 


of Dr. Read, the affectionate trust, the absolute reliance he had so 
long placed in Major Rollins assumed at last a form that was pos- 
itively pathetic. This eminent teacher, a Nazarite from the womb 
of his Alma Mater consecrated wholly to the cause of culture, whose 
contributions to the theory and the practice of University education, 
extending through full half a century, if reckoned in all dimensions, 
have hardly yet been surpassed by those of any other man in the 
Mississippi Valley, — Dr. Daniel Read survived by two years his res- 
ignation of the Presidency of the University. During this time he 
traveled much over the United States, from St. Louis to Boston, but 
his heart tarried all the while with Rollins in Columbia ; and so ac- 
customed was he to divide every hope and fear, every joy and grief, 
every doubt, conjecture, and reflection, every care and responsibility, 
with his faithful yoke-fellow, that the habit, become a second nature, 
pursued him everywhere, and found a partial satisfaction only in a 
most voluminous and elaborate correspondence, which lays bare the 
inmost recesses of his soul, even to the thoughts and intents of his 
heart, and while clearly revealing the noble and majestic proportions 
of his character, at the same time exhibits him as clinging with 
more than fraternal tenderness and tenacity to Rollins, even as the 
vine is wedded indissolubly to the elm. This latter, meanwhile, 
though broken in health, and laden with bodily infirmity, was ren- 
dering an equally hearty, vigorous, and effective support to the ad- 
ministration of Dr. Read's successor, President Laws, — for whom, in 
the year 1 88 1 , he secured an appointment on the Board of Visitors to 
the, United States Military Academy at West Point, to report on its 
condition, who spent evenings on evenings, untold in number, in 
conversation with him touching the general management of the 
University, and whose letters are strewn with such epithets as " in- 
domitable " and " amazing," applied to the energy with which he 
would further the interests of the University, no less than with ex- 
pressions of friendly concern lest his zeal should quite outrun his 
physical endurance. 

But while Major Rollins had thus withdrawn his well-worn mind 
and body from the battle of public life, and was dedicating the re- 
mainder of his days more and more exclusively to the worship of 
his earliest love, the University, must we infer that he had lost in- 
terest in national politics, and that the circle of his sympathies con- 


tracted with the natural shortening of his span of life ? Far from 
it! This was the day of the "Missouri Policy." Several men of 
very great ability, of lofty and patriotic ambition, of wide sympathies 
and of restless energy, had obtained the ascendancy in the politics 
of the State, and were potent ferments in the politics of the nation. 
Conspicuous among them were Gratz Brown, Carl Schurz, and that 
brilliant Harry Hotspur, Frank Preston Blair. This latter had been 
one of the most valiant officers in the Federal army ; by his cour- 
age, his decision, his energy at the outbreak of the Civil War, he had 
helped as almostno other man to retain Missouri in the Union against 
the strenuous efforts of her Governor, Claiborne F. Jackson. But 
he looked with horror and indignation upon the Congressional pol- 
icy of Reconstruction, which seemed to give full validity to the 
" Ordinances of Secession," which treated the Southern States as 
out of the Union, as conquered provinces, as Territories to be re- 
admitted into the higher sisterhood only on hard conditions. Blair 
had long glowed, in war and in peace, with fierce ardor against the 
" nullifiers " ; he could never concede that the Union he had fought 
so long and valiantly both with tongue and with sword to preserve 
and perpetuate had been dissolved either de jure or dc facto, and it 
was that higher consistency, which sometimes seems inconsistent, 
that now forced him into the Democratic ranks, where his name had 
once been a terror. There he reaped the honors of defeat as Vice- 
Presidential candidate with Seymour in November, 1868. Not only 
this, but the disfranchisement of a large part of the citizens of Mis- 
souri by the Drake Constitution of 1865 had balked the Senatorial 
aspirations of General Blair and had returned its author to the upper 
House of Congress. Thus all considerations united to drive this 
Prince Rupert of politics into the sharpest antagonism to the domi- 
nant radicalism, and to spur on his generous and impetuous spirit to 
the intensest warfare against it. Meantime there developed within 
the Republican ranks themselves a Liberal faction, whose leaders 
were Schurz and Brown. These waged uncompromising battle with 
the odious provisions of the Constitution, and demanded, instead, 
"universal amnesty and universal enfranchisement." With this ral- 
lying cry and under such puissant chieftains the Liberals and Demo- 
crats carried the State of Missouri, and this success thus achieved 
propagated itself like an electric shock throughout the Union and 


precipitated into being the National Liberal Republican Party. This 
organization, which would now be called Mugwump, and which con- 
tained in disproportionate measure both the head and the heart, the 
intellectual ability, and the moral integrity of the Republican party, 
was able in two years, on the first of May, 1872, to send nearly 700 
delegates to a most imposing convention assembled in Cincinnati. 
The contagion of independence and patriotism had everywhere at- 
tacked the noblest minds of the nation, the Liberal revolt had assumed 
majestic proportions, the defection from the Republican ranks was 
widespread, and nothing seemed — nay, in fact, nothing was — want- 
ing to insure the success on a stupendous scale, at the national elec- 
tion, of the " Missouri policy " but a judicious nomination for President 
of some high-minded patriot who could command the acceptance of 
the Democratic Convention and the suffrages of the Democratic 
party. Thus far the movement had been conducted with great wis- 
dom and foresight, but in an evil moment the seven demons of fatuity 
invaded the convention, overmastered nearly three-fourths of the 
delegates, and nominated Horace Greeley for President! — a man of 
all men, a name of all names, peculiarly distasteful to the inveterate 
Democrat. It was Missouri that had initiated this daring enterprise, 
the splendid captaincy of her statesmen-sons had carried it to the 
very gateways of complete success, and her prowess was recognized 
in the nomination of Gratz Brown for the second place on the 
national ticket. But no union of abilities and virtues in the Liberals 
could ever recommend the editor of the Tribune to the average 
Democrat ; the convention did indeed accept him with the lips, but 
the great heart of the party remained far from him, and he was 
crushed into the grave by Democratic indifference in November. 

In this the first great popular effort in the latest period of our history 
to reform politics, to substitute ideas and principles for party names 
and prejudices as watch-words and battle-cries, Major Rollins was 
fitted by his political antecedents, by his existent party affiliations, 
by his temperament and his abilities to be a natural leader. And 
he did indeed act a prominent part. He was in constant communi- 
cation with Frank P. Blair, who conferred with him at every move in 
that high game upon that national chess-board, and whom he had 
nominated for the Senate (January 18, 1867) in a speech singularly 
happy and appropriate. When in 1 87 1 General Blair appealed to the 


State to rectify the wrong he had suffered in his former defeat by- 
annulment of the popular will, he asked Rollins for support on this 
ground, that the people had already once before chosen him but 
their choice had been ineffectual ; at the same time he recognized 
fully the just pretensions that Rollins might himself put forward for 
that exalted dignity. This latter, however, acknowledged the su- 
perior moral claims of his friend to the position and accorded a hearty 
succor to his ambition. Nevertheless, in this important struggle 
Major Rollins attained neither the conspicuity nor the success that 
his abilities and services very naturally inspired him to hope for, 
nor was he able to render the effective help that his friends and com- 
patriots very naturally expected. It was a part of the elaborate 
programme sketched out by the Missouri Liberals that he should lead 
the united Liberal and Democratic column as candidate for Governor. 
But he made no canvass, being then in search of health for his daugh- 
ter in Colorado, and the Hon. Silas Woodson received the Democratic 
nomination. The truth is that the zeal of Major Rollins for the 
University, a zeal that had eaten him up, was now avenging itself 
upon him in ample measure. In his protracted struggle as State 
Senator over the Agricultural College Bill he had found it necessary 
to conciliate the Radical leaders, and any conciliatory policy, however 
well-meant, was fatally compromising in the mind of the outraged 
Democrat. While the air all around him shook with Blair's fierce 
denunciation of the iniquity of disfranchisement, Major Rollins, who 
fully shared his friend's intense convictions and heartily approved 
of the ends he had in view, had yet declined to adopt his warlike 
and desperate methods. Though repeatedly asked, besought, and 
even importuned by Blair to join with his own lofty and resonant 
tenor in the chorus of indignation that was swelling up against the 
punitive portions of the Drake Constitution, he had refused to do so, 
but cautiously reserved his own judgment. The repeal of those sec- 
tions, the rectification of all such political obliquities, seemed to him 
to be a certain issue of a natural development which might well be 
allowed to bide its own time and season, which could not long be 
delayed, and which stood in little need of passionate hothouse an- 
ticipation. The matter of the Agricultural College, on the other 
hand, demanded immediate attention, its settlement was to be 
made once for all and admitted no revision nor readjustment, 


and it involved vitally the highest educational interests of the com- 
monwealth. A correct solution of this instant problem, a wise 
disposition of this weighty and pressing matter, seemed far more 
important than the redress of grievances that after all, however 
vexatious, however exasperating, affected only lightly and indirectly 
any very grave concern of the people. A patriotic elector might 
well afford to wait a few years before casting his ballot; he might 
even renounce it utterly, in order to strengthen, advance, and prosper 
the University. 

It was equally natural that such temperate considerations as 
these should be regnant in the breast of Rollins, and that they 
should move to impatience the high-hearted Liberal, Gen. Blair. 
What to him, that veteran of field and forum, grown native to the 
smoke and din of either battle till the clear air dimmed his eyes, 
and his ears were stunned by silence, who mocked at fear and who 
counted not his life as his own unless daily he could hazard and win 
it — what to this knightly chieftain were a thousand Agricultural 
Colleges but so many lustreless pebbles in the dazzling splendor of 
political headship, of national hegemony, which lay in such ready 
grasp ? Of him the opportunity was known at its coming, he 
vehemently urged his bosom-friend to embrace it, and he chid 
sharply the conservatism that would listen to any other counsel. 
Undoubtedly, tried by the standard of political expediency at this 
juncture, he was far wiser in his generation than Major Rollins. 
The latter did indeed succeed in his scheme of unifying the higher 
educational system of the State, but he sacrificed the devotion of 
the masses on whose will his own official preferment depended. 
His voice did not break through to their ears and overpower their 
hearts, as so well it might, in denunciation of the injustice of their 
ostracism. He did not at any time fail of the confidence of the 
people, nor of esteem and reverence among their abler leaders ; but 
he did not identify himself heart and soul with the Liberal cause 
and party, he did not commit himself unreservedly to the rising tide 
of popular feeling that would have borne him surely and safely into 
the Gubernatorial haven. 4 

It is an interesting question how far the conservatism of Rollins 
at this final crisis of his political fortunes was a conscious sacrifice 
of diplomacy in behalf of the University, and how far it was born 


of a certain distrust of political insurrections, along with an equal 
repugnance towards new party alliances. Neither of these senti- 
ments, we may be sure, was a stranger to the man of three-score 
years, who had seen parties rise and fret their little day and fall 
again asunder, the most glorious years of whose manhood had been 
spent in unbroken allegiance to Whiggery, and who was now in- 
vited to pitch tent in the central camp of his ancient enemy. True, 
the wheel of events had made many revolutions since the days of 
Scott and Harrison ; " old times were changed, old manners gone"; 
the very names of Whig and Loco-foco had a strange and alien 
accent ; new matters concerned and new questions divided another 
generation of people. On these more modern issues his place was 
certainly at that time in the ranks of the revolted Liberals ; there, 
too, he took his stand ; but there was little in his surroundings, or 
in the memories that flocked about him, to rekindle in his breast 
the fires of youthful enthusiasm and to thrill his pulse of autumn 
once more with a springtide fullness. Be this as it may, certain it 
is that no severer charge than of failure to catch the auspicious 
transitory moment can lie against Major Rollins for his bearing in 
this crisis. Had the fusion ticket of Greeley and Brown been suc- 
cessful in the national canvass, it is scarcely possible that he should 
not have received offer of very high official position under that ad- 
ministration ; but the scroll read otherwise. His own sails had not 
been well trimmed to catch the breeze of Democratic enthusiasm at 
nomination, and the larger craft was left helpless and fatally becalmed 
in Democratic apathy at election. After this there remained nothing 
more that he could hope for in public life : the deep, unebbing, far- 
reaching ground-swell of popular admiration, of individual grati- 
tude, affection, and veneration still bore him up on its bosom ; but no 
decuman wave of political fortune swept after to lift him aloft on its 
vertex. No new buds of promise were to bourgeon and bloom for 
him during the fortnight of years that yet were his ; it was the 
mellowing time that had come, to enrich the fruitage with aroma 
and with flavor and with blending hues. It would not have been 
strange, but altogether natural, if the sharp acid of defeat, if the 
bitter alkali of disappointment, had colored the thoughts and tinged 
the temper of Rollins during this twilight of his history. He had 
striven with high resolve and with generous ambition ; by common 


consent he had not aimed at anything beyond his worth ; he had 
buffeted the blows of circumstance, and had reached quite out to the 
prize that not even political hostility could deny was a " thing for 
grasping " ; but still the fickle winds would lift it away and leave his 
hand of Tantalus empty. Even at best the touch of age chills and 
stiffens, and when the black frost of blighted hope is added, those 
human sympathies must be unusually warm, deep, and active that 
become neither sluggish nor stagnant. Let it be said to the honor 
of Rollins that he heard the mandate of time with composure, that 
he closed the sweet-scented volume of youth and of manhood per- 
haps with a sad, but certainly not with a querulous, consciousness 
that its leaves were sealed in turning ; nay, more, that he could even 
strike a cheerful note with Ben Ezra and exclaim, 

Grow old along with me, 
The best is yet to be. 

The period, indeed, during which without invidiousness he might 
have been called the first citizen of the State, was one of various and 
vigorous and beneficent activity. Not to speak of that seminary 
of learning, the minion of his earliest passion, the beneficiary of 
his maturest wisdom and benevolence, he stood to the last pre- 
eminent as a conserver and promoter of public interests, as a friend 
and patron of merit, equally keen to espy and ready to encourage. 
Where no wall of partisan prejudice intervened the whole people 
looked to him at once for sage counsel and for persuasive eloquence ; 
they delighted to honor him and gratify themselves by calling forth 
on festal or commemorative or deliberative occasions, where con- 
tention was stilled and fellow-feeling abounded, that voice which of 
old had so often filled their ears and shaken their hearts with con- 
flicting emotions. Thus he was invited to deliver the address before 
the Alumni Association of his Alma Mater, the Indiana University, 
June 27, 1 87 1. The theme that he naturally, one might almost 
say inevitably, chose was to him a most inspiring one, " The Progress 
of our Country." More than that, it was fitting beyond all ordinary 
standards of fitness, both to the occasion, — his return to his ancient 
academic haunts after forty and one years' toiling with laboring oar 
against wind and wave, — but still more to the man himself, of whom 
it was indeed emblematic. It appealed with equal seduction to his 
head and to his heart, it joined in wedlock the two ideas that had 


lorded over his life ; for " Progress " and " Country " had always 
been the chosen watch-words of Rollins. The address was published 
in pamphlet and is valuable for the discovery it makes of his point 
of view and range of vision. 

But a far larger and auguster assemblage, the most imposing in 
the extent and degree of the official distinction represented that 
has ever yet been gathered together in the Mississippi Valley, was 
two years later to wait upon his accents. Neither was the city 
where this meeting was held unworthy of this high presence, nor 
were the grandeur and magnitude of the interests considered in any 
measure unproportioned to its dignity. For the city was St. Louis, 
by irrevocable decree of fate the commercial emporium of the Mis- 
sissippi Valley, and the matter debated was the utilization and per- 
fecting of that stupendous system of water-ways stretched over our 
continent, the natural arteries of commerce, but hitherto so strangely 
and foolishly neglected. This Congressional Convention, consisting 
primarily of the members of both Houses of the National Legisla- 
ture, but to which the Chief Executive, with his Cabinet, and the 
Governors of the States were invited, held its sessions on the 13th, 
14th, and 15th of May, 1873. Major Rollins had neither official 
rank nor political prospects ; neither was he a citizen nor a resident 
of St. Louis. Nevertheless, on the programme of that stately con- 
vention his own name received the central and conspicuous place 
beside that of his distinguished rival, the Hon. John B. Henderson. 
In the Report of Proceedings published by the executive committee 
of the convention he alone of all the speakers is introduced as 
" the eloquent" ; — all the others are presented without epithet; on 
his speech alone is there any comment at the close, to indicate its 
effect and flattering reception. Trifles, these, to be sure ; yet sig- 
nificant as unconscious tributes to the eminence that Rollins so 
easily conquered among his peers. On reading the report it is 
readily seen that he and Henderson held only their rightful places ; 
but the spiritual elevation of the man is most clearly shown in his 
distinct subordination of material to moral, of physical to mental, 
considerations. Called on by a committee of business men to 
address a business meeting in the urgent interests of business, he 
does not hesitate to assign business its proper rank — a high and 
honorable but for all that a second one. The supreme concern of 


the State is not wealth nor commerce, but men. The culture and 
development of mind — that is the true ''internal improvement" 
without which all other is vain and empty, a blessing at all times 
ready to become a curse. Great is the Hoosac, great the Michigan 
Central — but Harvard and Ann Arbor are infinitely greater. Brave 
words were these, and not less opportune, not less gravely to be 
pondered now than when first they were spoken. 

It would have been strange if the Centennial of our national ex- 
istence had been allowed to pass without some word of might from 
such a well known and acknowledged patriot as James Sidney 
Rollins. By special request he did address the " Continental Con- 
gress assembled to reenact the Declaration of Independence " in a 
characteristic oration, which was published in pamphlet. Still other 
invitations the urgence of business engagements compelled him 
to decline. This same year was signalized in the history of the 
University by a change of administration, Dr. Read laying down, 
and Dr. Laws assuming, the Presidency. In his report to the Gov- 
ernor, Mr. Rollins, as President of the Board of Curators, turns his 
back neither to the rising nor to the setting sun. He is equally 
generous in recognizing the great service rendered the University 
by the retiring officer and hearty in commending the successor to 
confidence and support. 

Two years later he was once more solicited to serve his people in 
the Legislature ; but such a sacrifice pure and simple of personal 
comfort and private interest it was especially his delicate health 
that forbade him to make. His influence in legislation remained 
potent, however, though indirectly exerted. Important bills pre- 
pared by his pen were introduced and successfully advocated by his 
friends. In his reports as President of the Board of Curators the 
cause of the University was pressed upon the attention of the State and 
the General Assembly. Especially in the report bearing date Jan- 
uary 20, 1 88 1 , directed to the Thirty-first General Assembly, he pleads 
for justice if not for generosity to the University on the part of the 
State, he draws a striking picture of the liberality both public and 
private displayed towards other seminaries of learning all over our 
country in contrast with the anxious parsimony exhibited towards 
our own, and he shows the urgent necessity of enlarged munificence 
if the University is even to approach, much less attain unto, its des- 


tiny. In accordance with the suggestions of this impressive report 
a bill was introduced by Senator Bryant appropriating $80,000 to 
the extension of the main edifice of the University. But the gen- 
eral sentiment had not yet been educated to understand such wise 
and frugal extravagance, and the bill was lightly regarded. How- 
ever, all things come to him who waits, and two years later, after a 
long and arduous "campaign of education," the sum of $100,000 was 
voted, to which $25,000 was added by the Thirty-third General As- 
sembly. The merit of securing these appropriations, which were as 
essential to the growth of the University as material conditions can 
be, is not claimed in exclusive nor excessive measure for the Presi- 
dent of the Board of Curators. The case of itself appealed strongly 
to any one cognizant of the facts ; a number of able men both in and 
out of the Legislature lent ready and effective assistance ; but cer- 
tainly, both by pen and by tongue, still more by personal influence 
and remonstrance, he contributed as much as was in the power of 
one man to contribute towards the desired result. Meantime, while 
the people of the State hesitated to give four cents apiece to their 
own chief educational institution, he himself had given $800 in the 
donation of a bell whose clear resonance daily and hourly reminds 
the student that to the donor more than to any other man the Uni- 
versity owes its fame, its prosperity, its very being. A more ap- 
propriate, a more emblematic, gift it is impossible to conceive of, for 
it is indeed the ever-living voice of Rollins, echoing in every statute 
and resounding throughout its whole history, that assembles the 
youth of Missouri in the halls of her University. 

The present accents of that voice were nowindeed mellowed greatly 
by age that almost reached the Psalmist's limit, yet in no wise were 
they uncertain in tone, but true to their ancient pitch and timbre. 
Three open letters written in 1 881, to the National Educational As- 
sociation, to the Mississippi River Improvement Convention, and to 
the Missouri River Convention, respectively, show in a distinct and 
almost pathetic manner how completely the two great ideas of 
internal improvement and of still deeper inward melioration, the 
education and full unfolding of the soul, had possessed his mind, 
and how inexpugnably. They testify earnestly and conclusively to 
the romantic attachment with which he clung to his first love, the 
love of his youth, even in the deepening twilight, while the shadow 


of Azrael was not far from him. Too feeble in health to attend these 
bodies in person, he sent his voice before him, still pleading un- 
weariedly the paramount necessity of Government aid in opening the 
great water-ways of the United States as the natural channels of com- 
mercial intercourse, and still more in opening up the deep well-heads 
of civic culture all over our land and bidding their streams of virtue 
and intelligence have free course and abound. Such earnest demands 
and unremittent may long pass unheeded ; they may seem addressed 
to the insensate air, caught up and dispersed of the vagrant winds. 
Yet their accumulated energies shall at last arise, here or there, 
unexpectedly, long after, into consciousness ; even as the shell on 
the sea-shore gathers and treasures and resounds forth again the 
unheard everlasting murmur of the deep. 

A signal testimony to the width and depth of the impression that 
the unswerving devotion of Rollins to the higher ideas of civilization 
had stamped on the minds of his contemporaries was afforded in the 
following invitation : 

St. Louis, Mo., April 3, 1882. 
Hon. James S. Rollins, Columbia, Mo. 

Dear Sir: Appreciating the distinguished services you have for many years 
rendered the State, especially in the promotion of its educational interests, and 
desiring to make manifest in a public manner our friendly regard for you, we beg 
your attendance at a dinner to be given at the Southern Hotel, on the evening of 
April 19, 1882, in celebration of your seventieth birthday. 

Sincerely yours, 
John C. Orrick, Jas. O. Broadhead, 

John Jackson, E. O. Stanard, 

Julius S. Walsh, Gerard B. Allen, 

Samuel Hays, Samuel M. Breckenridge, 

James Richardson, Wayman Crow, 

D. M. HousiiR, Wm, A. Hargadine, 

Jas. E. Yeatman, John A. Scudder, 

Geo. Knapp, Silas Bent, 

J. M. Franciscus, Edwin Harrison, 

Nathan Cole, John W. Noble, 

John D. Perry, John B. Henderson, 

Peter L. Foy, John R. Lionberger, 

W. H. Scudder, F. N. Judson, 

and others. 

This invitation, which was certainly grateful in a marked degree, 
the delicate condition of Major Rollins's health compelled him to de- 


cline. But he could not let the occasion slip to raise once more, if 
for the last time, his ancient cry of " Excelsior ! " that now for half 
a century, in season and out of season, had been ringing from his 
lips. In his note of declination he adverts once more to the extra- 
ordinary dowries that Missouri holds at the hands of Nature, and 
calls upon her sons to go boldly forward to seize and appropriate 
her manifest destiny. 

The sands of his life were now fast melting away, but there yet 
presented itself a worthy opportunity for the esteem and appreciation 
of the friends of education, more particularly of the Alumni of the 
University, to give itself fitting expression. The Commencement 
Exercises in June, 1885, borrowed a great lustre from the presence 
of a number of distinguished statesmen and official dignitaries to 
take part in the dedication of the important extension of the Univer- 
sity building. At the conclusion of the address of the Hon. Stephen 
B. Elkins before the Alumni Association, a bronze bust of Major 
Rollins, the work of W. W. Gardner of St Louis, and the gift of a 
wide circle of admirers, was unveiled and offered to the Board of 
Curators for permanent location in the Library Hall. The address 
of presentation was pronounced by the Hon. Luther T. Collier of 
Chillicothe, Mo., and the response of acceptance on the part of the 
Board by the Hon. N. J. Colman, United States Commissioner of 
Agriculture. The bust renders well and preserves securely for 
posterity the strong but amiable features of the original. 

The valetudinarianism that has already met with frequent allusion 
was the result of an accident, and by nature foreign to the robust 
constitution of Rollins. On the 17th of January of the year 1874 
the Wabash Express, bound for St. Louis, was derailed in crossing 
a defective bridge at Dardennes and hurled in a heap upon the far- 
ther bank of the streamlet. Major Rollins, after extrication from 
the wreck, was either not conscious of any serious hurt, or disre- 
garded it in the excitement of the moment and in active concern for 
the relief of the many unfortunates. In fact, he continued his jour- 
ney to St. Louis, where, however, the very grave character of his 
injuries, a contusion of the head and the enlodgment of a large splin- 
ter in the leg, but most of all some obscure internal shock and de- 
rangement, began to display itself. For several weeks he kept his 
bed at the hotel, but at last so far recovered as to endure transport 


home on a litter. A sharp attack of erysipelas, supervening, endan- 
gered his life, and the wound made by the splinter stubbornly re- 
fused to yield entirely to any treatment. Six months sufficed to 
restore him to general health, but the vigor, buoyancy, and elasticity 
both of mind and of body that had so long characterized him in 
such high degree were gone beyond complete recall ; his internal 
organism had apparently suffered some profound and irreparable 
lesion. This calamity hastened by nearly a decade the natural ad- 
vance of old age, but without greatly dampening the ardor or relax- 
ing the energy with which he pursued his favorite ambitions. For 
eleven years longer he continued to erect himself resolutely against 
age and infirmity, holding and guiding with firm and steady hand 
important and manifold interests, both public and private. But the 
contest began to grow more and more unequal ; at length on his 
74th anniversary, April 19, 1886, he tendered Governor Marma- 
duke his resignation as President of the Board of Curators. The 
reply of the Governor was in these fitting and notable words : 

Jefferson City, Mo., May 24, 1886. 
Hon. James S. Rollins, 

President of Board of Curators of State University, Columbia, Missouri. 
Sir: In complying with your earnest request for the acceptance of your res- 
ignation of the office of Curator of the State University, allow me, in behalf of the 
people of the State, to tender you this expression of their high appreciation of 
your long and eminently successful efforts in creating an institution of learning 
which is already an ornament to our great commonwealth and the pride of her 

It is a matter of history that to you, more than to any one else, is due its founda- 
tion, its location, its organization, and its growth and advance to its present posi- 
tion of extended usefulness; and its perpetuity, already assured, will transmit 
your name through the histories of countless future ages. 

With the hope that your health may be restored, and that you may yet enjoy 
many years of peaceful and happy life, 

I remain, with respect, your obedient servant, 
(Signed) John S. Marmaduke, 


At the annual meeting of the Board of Curators in June, 1886, 
these sentiments of the Governor were echoed in a series of resolu- 
tions, and with multiplied emphasis. Thus, at the end of seventeen 
years of service as President of the Curatorial Board, the official con- 
nection of James Sidney Rollins with the University of the State of 


Missouri was terminated, the long self-sacrifice of half a generation 
was over, and the end rhymed full with the beginning. Neverthe- 
less, his interest in the University and his benevolence towards the 
devotees of learning were yet to receive one further conspicuous 
illustration : his last will and testament devised the sum of six thou- 
sand dollars as a foundation for six junior scholarships. A most 
wise benefaction ! the first step bold and long towards the establish- 
ment of a system of scholarships and fellowships whose incessant 
function it shall be to attract, to select, to stimulate, and to recom- 
pense the highest moral character and the finest intellectual ability 
throughout the State, and to direct them along paths of useful and 
distinguished achievement. Is it possible that all the wealthy cit- 
izens of Missouri, compared with the riches of many of whom the 
whole estate of Rollins was inconsiderable, will let this precedent go 
by unnoticed or disregarded ? In the single city of St. Joseph, a 
distant third in the State, it is said there are thirty millionaires. 
The whole number in our commonwealth is to be reckoned by the 
hundred. The sum of eight or ten thousand dollars donated to 
found a fellowship could never be missed by any of these ; it would 
not entail the slightest sacrifice on the donor. Yet it would trans- 
mit his name in honor and grateful remembrance to remotest poster- 
ity, it would open a slender but pure, clear-flowing, and exhaustless 
fount of perennial blessing for his countrymen and for the world at 
large. Can it be that no one of all these is willing to purchase im- 
mortality when thus offered in auction to the lowest bidder ? Six 
such fellowships established at Columbia would endow the Univer- 
sity with untold strength and fix the gaze of the noblest youth in 
the State upon her. But if no citizen is shrewd enough to choose 
this short, open, and flowery road to glory, surely the larger vision 
of the State should see it, nor hesitate any longer to follow it. 

The kindly hope with which Gov. Marmaduke closed his letter was 
not destined to pass into fulfilment. Neither release from all public 
and even private cares, nor the pious solicitude of a devoted family 
circle could avail to arrest the quickened pace of decay in a frame 
long since due of scriptural right to the tomb. A mild paresis now 
began to show itself, the sure messenger of death. Softly, inces- 
santly, the fatal film kept weaving itself over his faculties. It was 
the sun setting amid the mists of evening. Again and 'again his 


powerful nature would reassert itself, and through some transient 
rift the native splendor would flash forth a stream of i'ts old-time 
rays. But again the rift would close and the haze grow deeper and 
denser. At last, on the 9th of January, 1 888, the mighty disk, shorn 
of its beams and immersed from human vision, arose on another 
shore. No sudden shock of regret ran through the community, as 
when some greater light is suddenly eclipsed ; the gentle approach 
of the dusk had kindly reconciled the eyes even of intimate friends, 
and the volume of his life was full with its six and seventy pages. 
But everywhere throughout the State, the texture of whose history 
was so deeply colored by the thread of his life, there fell for the moment 
the awful sense of mystery, with its brooding stillness, upon the fever- 
ous surface of our life, and with one voice the press and the people 
echoed in endless variety of phrase the common sentiment: 

Render thanks to the Giver, Missouri, for thy son. 

The obsequies, simple and solemn, were begun in the only worthy 
and appropriate place, the spacious chapel of the State University. 
There the funeral oration was pronounced by the Rev. R. S. Camp- 
bell ; the career of the deceased was sketched, its significance appraised, 
and its lessons enforced, by the eloquence of the Rev. W. Pope Yea- 
man ; while the resolutions of the Faculty were read and supple- 
mented with remarks by the President, Dr. Laws. Thence the long 
funeral procession took up its march to the Columbia cemetery, 
where now beneath a granite monument, simple in sculpture, modest 
in proportions, impressive in solidity, reposes whatever was mortal 
of James Sidney Rollins. 


In person the subject of this memorial was tall and commanding. 
His frame was well proportioned, neither slender nor inclined to 
fullness. Lithe, but compact and firmly knit in all its members, it 
lent itself freely to the service of his soul, enduring arduous and un- 
remittent exertion with patience. His facial features were boldly 
and cleanly cut, the nose, slightly aquiline, bespeaking a Roman 
energy, set between deep and penetrating eyes of iron-gray, beneath 
a brow broad and full, and a forehead heaved dome-like upward ; 


the hair dark brown, abundant, and vigorous, while the lower face 
was muffled in a beard worn full, long, and heavy. He never dis- 
dained the elegancies of toilet, while his knightly bearing and gracious 
address were such as might well have beseemed some courtier in the 
days of romance. But this gentle gallantry was far from being merely 
formal or superficial. It was a part of his nature, and struck its 
roots into his heart ; hence it was that the native nobility of his 
carriage was matched by the genuine benignity of his countenance. 
Altogether his presence was a striking one, and would have been noted 
in any assemblage, social or political, as distingue and conspicuous. 
Whoever now would delineate the spiritual being that wore such 
a garment of flesh must recall instinctively the deep-thoughted lines 

of Spenser: 

Of the Soul the body form doth take, 
For soul is form and doth the body make. 

If it were possible indeed to freight the terms already used with 
psychic as well as physical import, the work of description might 
be accounted well-nigh done. Certainly the reader needs scarcely 
to be told that the mental figure of Rollins was high and grand. 
Perhaps of all qualities it is largeness that is most habitually present 
in his plans, ideas, sentiments, and predilections. His sense of size, 
his love of magnitude, found one of its many expressions in the 
house that he built for his home, remote from town, with its wide 
sweep of lawn about it, with its spacious halls, its generous parlors, 
its commodious chambers. It was the greatness of the public in- 
terest that not only drew him into political life with irresistible at- 
traction, but also determined his party preferences and selected his 
political hobbies by its subtile persuasion. The University, national 
aid to education, the professional training of teachers, the Pacific' 
Railroad, the development of commerce by water from Gulf to Lakes, 
from mountain to ocean — all these his favorites were grand concep- 
tions, and it was the very vastness of the Union that made him love 
it and worship it and resent its attempted disruption. This large- 
ness of ideas was not to be reckoned in one but in every dimension; 
they were broad in their scope, high in their aim, deep-reaching in 
their effects on future generations. By a peculiar operation of the 
law of recompense, this quality of his mind did not fail to avenge 
itself amply in his history. It disqualified him in great measure for 


the exalted position of party leader, for which he was 'otherwise 
fitted and to which he not unjustly aspired. It disposed him unduly 
to compromise and conciliation, it tempered the fervor of his party 
enthusiasm, it relaxed the bonds of his party allegiance. But the 
gifts of God are without amendment : as they are offered, so they 
must be received. 

Not only, however, was the mind of Rollins a large one ; it was 
agile and flexible as well. Without any strong inherent bent or de- 
termination, it obeyed readily the bridle of the will and was easily 
guided along this path or that. In the forum, on the hustings, be- 
fore a jury, conducting a political canvass, or administering the 
affairs of a university, raising a subscription, or urging a statute, 
pleading for the Union or for internal improvement or for higher 
education, executing difficult public trusts, or building up a hand- 
some private fortune, Rollins was equally at home, nimble, sagacious, 
indefatigable, above all, however, efficient. Such a many-sided talent 
has its own reward and exacts its own penalty ; it is the foe of genius, 
but the friend of usefulness ; it offers a prize in the pankration but 
withholds it in each of the individual contests. It was wholly for- 
tunate, however, for his happiness, for the serenity of his temper, for 
the freshness and cheerfulness of his spirit, that his sympathies were 
so wide and his interests so various; that disappointment of one 
kind was continually relieved by fruition of another ; that success 
in business should still assuage the bitterness of defeat in politics. 

Such a habit of mind and body was, of course, fitted especially to 
a life not of thought but of action ; its enduring products are not 
books but institutions. Nevertheless, in one direction, that of ora- 
tory, Major Rollins approached a more purely intellectual triumph. 
His eloquence must not indeed be judged by too severe a standard. 
Not to go beyond the borders of our own country, it was not 
the chaste and polished rhetoric of Everett, just in matter, elegant 
in diction, and rich in classic aroma ; nor the rhythmic prose of 
Prentiss, florta with tropic luxuriance of adjective and simile; nor 
the strenuous and pitiless dialectic of Calhoun, direct and cogent, 
earnest and forcible, a naked athlete, all nerve and bone and sinew ; 
nor yet again the profound and lofty argumentation of Webster, 
majestic in sweep and resistless like the rush of a planet — after 
none of these was it modeled. It was a popular oratory in the 


fashion of Clay's, a pot-pourri of plausible reasoning and vehement 
declamation, of earnest persuasion and passionate exhortation, of 
sober discussion about important public interests and forceful appeal 
to partisan feeling, spiced with repartee, seasoned with personal- 
ities, and flavored with frequent anecdote. Major Rollins was not, 
to be sure, by nature incapable of higher and austerer forms of 
eloquence ; but these he never cultivated. The reason was not far 
to seek : rhetoric was with him not an end but a means to convince 
and persuade the people. Whatever was useless to this purpose he 
wisely eschewed ; whatever was useful he shrewdly adopted. It is 
as an instrument designed for a certain purpose that we must esti- 
mate his eloquence ; and, so estimated, its rank is very high. Under 
other conditions of time and place his facile intelligence would 
doubtless have adopted another tongue, in the use of which practice 
would have given him equal proficiency. A higher, a louder, a 
richer, a firmer note he might have struck, but that which he did 
strike was the one beyond all others that woke the clearest echo in 
the hearts of his hearers. 

But no perusal of the printed page, no matter how sympathetic, 
can realize except in faint image the effect of his oratory ; for the 
personality of the speaker is wanting. It was the rich and resonant 
and well modulated voice, the stately grace of figure and gesture, 
the earnest and impassioned utterance and action, that lent half its 
charm to the eloquence of Rollins, that made him resistless on the 
hustings, and that held by the hour the rapt attention of the national 
House of Representatives. 

When we turn now to regard the social life of the man, one 
supreme fact confronts us, his helpfulness towards his fellows. He 
was not one of that too numerous class who worship man and 
despise men, who dwell in exalted regions of abstract benevolence 
and universal philanthropy aloof from all attaint of concrete charity 
and specific beneficence. Seldom indeed has any community felt 
more powerfully than his own, more continuously, or for a longer 
period, if too often reluctantly and ineffectually, the impulse of a 
single public spirit towards higher forms of civilization. He was a 
true son of Athens and rejoiced with personal pride in the glory of 
the body politic and the upbuilding of the communal interest. Not 
only the University, but churches and school-houses, turnpikes and 


railroads, hotels and theatres, parks and cemeteries — all organs and 
institutions of society, all expressions and instruments of civic life, 
found in him uniformly aforemost champion and often a single-handed 
promoter. Neither was he content with devoting so large a part of 
his time and attention to the advancement of the general weal. He 
was not only a well-wisher, but also a well-doer; and not only to the 
people at large, but also to countless particular persons in private. 
He coveted, perhaps even to excess, the admiration and affection of 
his kind ; the applause of the multitude was music to his ears, their 
testimonials of gratitude were as light to his eyes. But he sought to 
win favor always by first deserving it, and his love of approbation 
became a powerful incentive to virtue. It was not only Lathrop and 
Read and the staff of the University that leaned upon him so trust- 
fully ; his generous arm upbore many another. Applications for 
counsel, for all kinds of assistance, financial and other, would stream 
in upon him. His correspondence, which was enormous and must 
have been most burdensome, bears ample testimony both to the great 
number, the warmth, and the intimacy of his friendships, and also to 
the exceedingly high esteem in which his opinion, his abilities, and 
his character were held by the most distinguished men of the State 
and of the nation, among whom it is enough to mention the Blairs, 
the Clays, the Shermans, Benton, Bates, Glover, C. F. Burnam, and 
Professor Bartlett. These letters, often of a very personal and con- 
fidential nature and not seldom voluminous, discover in more than 
one case a feeling of the liveliest gratitude on the part of his corre- 
spondent for some valuable service already rendered, and, what is far 
more, an unquestioning faith that no opportunity would be allowed 
to slip by for a further extension of such friendly offices. The in- 
stance of General George C. Bingham is particularly noteworthy. 
This man was an artist of very unusual endowments. Born under 
another sun, in France or Germany, he would have won a most en- 
viable rank among the greatest of contemporary painters. But he 
was not merely skilful with the brush ; he wielded the pen with almost 
equal dexterity. The defects of early culture he had far more than 
made good by extensive reading and by wide and close observation. 
His sympathies and intellectual interests were remarkably broad and 
varied, his understanding was capacious and virile. More than all, 
however, his moral nature was cast in a mold almost heroic. He 


was noble and generous, strangely unpartizan, incorruptibly honest, 
and romantically courageous. To be the peculiar friend of such a 
man was in itself a distinction, and according to his own express 
declaration it fell to Rollins. His letters to the latter reveal a most 
tender attachment, a confidence utterly unreserved, and a sense of 
irremovable obligation that is never once felt as a burden. 

The domestic life of Major Rollins, which stretched itself through 
more than half a century, was one of unbroken harmony and of sin- 
gular happiness. On the 6th of June, 1837, he received in marriage 
the hand of Miss Mary E. Hickman, who survives him in a widow- 
hood comforted with every fragrance of memory, with the richest 
overgrowth of family affection ; and in this felicitous union was laid 
the foundation of a blessedness imperturbable by the accidents of 
political fortune. Nor this only, but whatever success attended his 
manifold undertakings Rollins always attributed in large measure, 
justly and generously, to the sagacity and unwearied vigilance, the 
energy and administrative ability, the patient self-sacrifice and un- 
swerving devotion of his consort by the hearthstone; qualities that 
might be safely left to guard extensive private interests, while his 
own attention was absorbed in matters of public concern. Eleven 
children were born unto this well-matched pair, and the brood at home 
was always regarded with the utmost tenderness and with more than 
paternal pride by Rollins. To this fondness he would indeed some- 
times give expression in his public addresses, with a certain naivete 
that touched some and amused others in his audience. But even the 
pleasures of home and the fireside demand inexorably their own re- 
quital, and the untimely death of four children, especially of his son 
Frank, a youth of unusual promise, slew his peace as the arrows of 
only such afflictions can slay. 

One child, however, was left behind him not subject to the or- 
dinary decrees of mortality : the University of the State of Missouri. 
The distinguished title of Pater Universitatis Missonriensis was 
formally conferred by proper authority, but even had it never been 
recognized, the fact of such illustrious paternity, in the light of the 
foregoing history, would be hardly less conspicuous. His claim to 
such an august cognomen may, indeed, be disputed, but on grounds 
how utterly unsubstantial has already been shown. Granted that 
the germ of a university was imbedded in the Constitution ; in itself 


it was sterile — there it was dead already, abiding alone. Some 
vivifying energy from without was absolutely necessary to fertilize 
it, and that impulse to life and growth was supplied by Rollins. It 
is no answer to say that if he should not have done it, somebody 
else would. Very probably. And if Newton had not discovered 
the law of gravitation, somebody else would have discovered it. 
If Stephen had not begun, if Paul had not completed, the univer- 
salization of Christianity, yet by some means it would have been 
universalized. But herewithal the glory of Newton, of Stephen, 
and of Paul is in no measure abated. Nevertheless, such considera- 
tions as these do not yet touch the heart of the matter. What is it 
after all that constitutes true fatherhood ? Is it mere engendering ?. 
Assuredly not. It has been pithily said, 

Das Vatervverden ist nicht schwer, 
Das Vatersein dagegen, sehr ! 

To be a father, to discharge the manifold and difficult duties of such 
a relation, truly hie labor, hoc opus est. And it was not solely nor 
mainly because Rollins was foremost in inaugurating the University 
that the Board conferred upon him such high distinction, but be- 
cause for so many years he had played the part of its father at 
a sacrifice continually of private interest and, finally, of honorable 
political ambition. If such services as are now familiar to the reader 
do not ground a just claim to the title in question, then it is hard 
to see how any such claim could ever be justly grounded. No one 
disputes the boast of Jefferson, inscribed on his tomb, that he was 
"Father of the University of Virginia." Yet will any one equate 
for a moment the services of Jefferson to the services of Rollins ? 
What indeed was the work of the former? By tongue and pen, 
with exhaustive argument, he recommended the idea of a university 
to the people of Virginia ; through his friend Joseph C. Cabell in 
the Legislature he secured an appropriation of $300,000 for edifices 
and a yearly support of $15,000 ; he traced out the general organiza- 
tion of the University and personally superintended the construc- 
tion of the buildings. Splendid services these to culture and to 
American citizenship, and for them he has his reward. But who 
will liken them to those of Rollins ? What did the Virginian do 
which the Missourian did not do in equal or in larger measure ? In 


organization the work of the latter kept pace with the former's, in ad- 
ministration it surpassed, in promotion and benefaction it distanced. 
Rollins gave largely of his means to the University ; Jefferson gave 
nothing, being nearly bankrupt, with nothing to give. He " began 
to interest himself in the University in 18 17" at the age of seventy- 
four, and maintained his interest for nine years, dying in 1826; 
Rollins, on the other hand, espoused the cause of the University at 
the age of twenty-seven, and was active in its behalf through more 
than forty-five years. Jefferson found " in the establishment of a 
University " (see his letter to John Adams under date of October 
23, 1823) a "hobby against this tedium vitce" fit for an "octo- 
genary rider." But Rollins found in establishing a University not 
the diversion of age, but the engrossing employment of youth and 
manhood. True, the work of the sage of Monticello has been 
blessed apparently far beyond that of the statesman of Columbia; 
but whatever the craft of the workman his product will depend on 
the material at hand ; however planted, however watered, it is earth 
and sky that shape flower and fruitage. Nor let us forget that the 
University of Virginia is nearly a score of years the elder ; and as 
to the University of Missouri twenty years from now — it doth not 
yet appear what it shall be. 

The services of Rollins to the cause of higher education, more 
particularly to the State University, undoubtedly ground his chief 
claim to immortality and uprear the central pillar of his fame. Yet 
his political achievements were very far from inconsiderable, though 
they fell short both of his own just deserts and still more of 
the confident expectations of his admirers. Here again the fault 
lay not so much in the chisel as in the marble, which proved 
refractory in its intimate structure and refused to take upon itself 
the highest polish. It is a fact that confronts us at more than one 
turn of events that time and place had conspired against him, and 
they performed their vow. Had the stage of his action been shifted 
through three degrees either in latitude or in longitude, his political 
career would have been far less chequered. Had the meridian 
of his life, which traversed the troublous times of the Kansas 
agitation, been displaced by ten years either backwards or for- 
wards, his political development would have been true to itself and 
his elective affinities would not have been thwarted. As it was, he 


found himself a Whig in the decadence of Whiggery ; a leader of his 
party when that party had begun to disintegrate ; a slaveholder, 
but in heart unalterably opposed to the institution of slavery ; a 
conservative when conservatism was impossible ; and a preacher of 
peace when war was inevitable. The dissolution of the Whigs left 
him without any firm partizan anchorage ; at a time when the polit- 
ical elements were undergoing rapid polarization and rearrangement, 
he found himself still beneath the strong coercitive magnetism of the 
great Apostle of Compromise, repelled alike by either polar extreme 
and buffeted by the contrary currents that so often vex mid-lying 
equatorial regions. Nature had formed his mind and temper for 
the "era of good feeling," and then, with that bitter irony, in 
that grim mockery that she loves, had flung him into the mael- 
strom of sectional strife and partisan hatred. It is surely no won- 
der if the tempest whose first blasts stranded far from their haven 
such heroic crafts as Clay and Webster should wreck or engulf at 
the height of its fury even the sturdiest of their epigoni. Rollins him- 
self was wont to find solace for the miscarriage of his aspirations in 
the just observation that in minorities, where his lot was so frequently 
cast, there is generally to be found more than a due proportion of 
virtue and wisdom, of patriotism and intelligence. To this we may 
add the further reflection that disappointment is not failure, and may 
really be the guise of some higher and unhoped for success. Had 
Rollins been a more famous, perhaps he might have been a less use- 
ful man ; had his career been crowned with greater good fortune, 
perhaps it might have been filled with less beneficence. From its 
highland fastness, from its homestead in the hills, its undiscovered 
sources, the stream of his life broke forth with glad and strong and 
impetuous current. Swift and bright, deep-flowing and abundant, 
it rushed onward through half its descent to the main. Then it was 
that the sands, sluggish and heavy, began to choke it and drain off 
its brimming wave and dull the mirror of its surface. Yet through 
the desolate tract it held on its slow and toilsome and circuitous 
course, and at last, having redeemed and blessed with fertility a 
long wide stretch of the desert, it emerged, though with contracted 
flood, "from out the mist and hum of that low land," to hear the 
waves dashing on the destined shore and to mingle its own murmur 
in the eternal anthem of the sea. 


/. Page 4.* — The remarkable benefaction of Dr. Rollins left $10,000 as an 
Aid Fund, one-fourth of the interest on which was to be continually turned over 
into the original principal, thus augmenting the same annually by (perhaps) 
one-fiftieth of itself, while the remaining three-fourths was to be applied to the 
maintenance at the University of worthy youths of Boone County. The adminis- 
tration and distribution of the Fund is in the hands of the County Court of Boone 
County. The Fund has now attained the very considerable sum of $45,000, and 
more than $2000 is annually available for the support in question. Unless 7nal- 
administered and squandered, the Fund must in time assume excessive propor- 
tions, and three-fourths of the income must far transcend the real needs of the 
youths in question. Part of the income should in fact be diverted to much more 
useful ends, as to founding fellowships and scholarships, or else to endowing 
special chairs in the University. In this way there might be added every few 
years some new member to the vast organism of higher education, all sustained 
by the original gift of Dr. Rollins. Generation after generation the ancient stem 
would put forth new and imperishable branches ; the stream of blessing that the 
great-hearted physician taught to flow would roll on with steadily augmenting vol- 
ume even to remotest ages. Surely a most noble and beneficent immortality, and 
purchased at a price how incomparable ! 

2. Page 31. — This speculation as to the possible results of a very slight 
change in the count of votes is by no means a mere fancy of the biographer. 
The friends of Major Rollins, among them some of the most conspicuous figures 
in the nation, regarded him as in every way worthy of the highest trusts within the 
gift of the whole people, and they looked forward to his possible elevation to the 
Presidency as to no unreasoning political haphazard, but as to a recognition of 
merit contingent indeed upon "availability." But there is no evidence discovered 
that he himself ever indulged the lofty ambition cherished for him by his wide 
circle of admirers. And yet, — the head of the Whig party in Missouri, once 
its choice for United States Senator, twice its candidate for Governor; the large- 
minded lawgiver, for eighteen years at Jefferson, for four years at Washington, 
the conspicuous champion of every liberal and enlightened measure; the founder 
and most zealous promoter of the system of higher education in his adopted com- 
monwealth, for seventeen years President of the Board of Curators of its Univer- 
sity ; the popular orator whom the most cultured, competent, and experienced 
judgment in the State has pronounced, with deliberation, " second only to 
O'Connell," — to what political eminence might he not without presumption 
have aspired ? 

j. Page 41. — The earnestness, intensity, and fidelity of Major Rollins's 
friendships were never perhaps more strikingly exemplified than in the case of 
President Lathrop. The bond of mutual affection united the lives of these two 
men, of natures so widely different and even complementary, through a period of 
nearly a whole generation, the busiest and most exciting in all the busy and 



exciting life of Rollins. A toilsome quest may be necessary for souls to find one 
another, but recognition comes spontaneously. Almost immediately upon La- 
throp's arrival in Columbia, to assume the Presidency of the new University, he 
attached himself to the young statesman, and every year in the quarter-century 
that followed seemed to tighten and strengthen the cords of union between them. 
During his first incumbency President Lathrop leaned with full weight on his 
stalwart young friend, though the latter had no official connection with the Uni- 
versity. At Jefferson City it was Rollins that was continually invoked for help in 
devising, recommending, advocating, and securing all salutary and necessary 
legislation; but still more in Columbia it was Rollins that was continually sought 
for cheer, for counsel, for support, and for encouragement. In 1849 Lathrop 
accepted a call, long held under advisement, to the University of Wisconsin, at 
Madison. But Rollins had already clenched his friend's heart to Columbia with 
nails of adamant, and for eleven weary years, in Wisconsin and in Indiana, 
Lathrop's face remained turned steadily toward Missouri, his eyes fastened wist- 
fully on La Grange. He left Rollins not only the keeper of his affections, but 
also the guardian of his professional reputation and personal dignity against the 
attacks of envy, jealousy, and petty malevolence — a trust that was bravely and 
faithfully discharged. Though hundreds of miles away, in every doubt, danger, 
or difficulty he turned confidently to Rollins, and whenever he needed help of any 
kind, whether of money, or of influence, or of advice. His letters are full ot 
touching laments at his inability to revisit Columbia — a happiness that each 
year he seems to have set before him as a goal to be attained the next vacation, 
but which each following summer dissolved like the mirage of the desert. It was 
the old story, eternally new for the Western teacher: Res angustce domi .' 
Never, in fact, did the hart pant for the water-brooks as the gentle soul of Lathrod 
panted for the sweet companionship of his "other self" — such is the supreme 
title by which he designates Rollins — on the " banks of the Hinkston." When 
at last, in i860, the breeze abated and there came a shifting of the sails, it was to 
Rollins alone that Lathrop opened his whole heart, entrusted his whole cause, 
and it was largely, by his own glad avowal, a yearning to "resume an ancient 
Boone companionship " that induced him to exchange a presidency in Blooming- 
ton for a professorship in Columbia. His language, used in a letter to his "alter 
ego" under date of August 29, i860, is very remarkable, emphatic to the limit of 
emphasis, and explicit beyond all cavil: " 1 constitute you privately my guide, 
my philosopher, my friend — my confessor in all personal and official matters." 
President Lathrop was a man of kindly heart, of generous impulses, and of con- 
fiding, affectionate nature. Such a man would claim many persons as friends. 
Yet Rollins was not in his relations to Lathrop, any more than in his relations to 
the University, merely one, even if the principal one, of many. It is a fact of his- 
tory, which the correspondence of Lathrop with Rollins sets in clear and bold 
relief and rescues from the treachery of memory and the detraction of envy, that 
the relations of Rollins to the head of the University were like his relations to the 
University itself — altogether unique, disparate, and incomparable with any con- 

This correspondence reveals Lathrop himself in a favorable and amiable light, 
as conspicuously a scholarly man, passionately devoted to the " things of mind," 


to literature and to education, of high professional attainment, of wide and active 
intellectual sympathies. He was neither dogmatic nor aggressive, yet he had 
"found himself" and had arrived at clear consciousness and enlightened views 
on all questions of pedagogy and University organization. Neither was he to be 
lightly shaken in his convictions, nor to be aroused to self-defense with impunity. 
He was no less formidable in controversy for the finish and elegance of his 
rhetoric, and his antagonist was not slow in learning that a silken glove might 
cover a hand of steel. As an executive, President Lathrop showed himself at all 
times equal to his duties, and always faithful in discharging them; yet they were 
never according to his taste, and they scarcely favored the highest display of his 
talent. The high-bred racer may indeed draw the cart or turn the treadmill ; but 
it is not in such harness that he will bear witness to his pedigree. The true 
mission of Lathrop was to teach, to stand for learning and education, to plead 
the cause of the intellect, to guard the prerogatives of Mind. Nature had chosen 
him to the apostolate of culture, and chance had cast his lines in partibus 

The life of a missionary is at best but a rugged and checkered one. "Aller 
Anfang ist schwer," say the Germans, but especially difficult are the beginnings 
of education. Arduous and thankless beyond all others is the task of him who 
would blaze out the highways of culture through the dense " erroneous wood" of 
primitive ignorance, prejudice, and parsimony. Such was the stern and ungrate- 
ful duty that fell to the lot of Lathrop. He discharged it nobly and well, though 
molded by nature from much finer clay for less rigorous service. His devoted 
and pathetic life-work has not yet received any recognition fit or worthy of men- 
tion, the century-plant he so lovingly tended has not yet burst into bloom ; but 
the future historian of the University and of education in the West will take de- 
light in honoring his memory. Meantime the beautiful obelisk of granite, that 
keeps watch over his ashes, bears witness to the world on its counter-faces with 
these two inscriptions, which briefly sketch his career and broadly outline his 
character : 

a graduate of yale college, 

Studied the law as a science, 

Became a teacher by profession, 

Was a tutor in Yale College, 

a professor in hamilton college, n. y., 

First President of the Missouri State University, 

Also of the Wisconsin University, 

President of the Indiana University, 

Recalled to the Missouri University, 

Of which he died President. 

Eminent in his generation, 

Faithful to duty, the scholar 

And Christian gentleman, 

He lived not for himself 

But for his country and mankind. 


It was eminently fitting that the epitaph of the pious missionary should be 
written by his " other self," the hardy pioneer, who most of all men deeply loved 
and highly prized him ; and it is impossible in sight of their monuments not to 
recall the tender lament of David : 

Saul and Jonathan, beloved and kind ! 
In life and in death they are not divided. 

4. Page^S. — The truth seems to be that though Major Rollins sympa- 
thized very cordially with Schurz and Brown in the original "Missouri policy," 
though he was fully and formally enlisted in the revolt of the Liberal Republi- 
cans, yet he was never in hearty accord with the Democratic party. He was too 
clear-eyed, wide-sighted, and honest-minded not to recognize individual merit, 
whether in the dogmas or in the leaders of Democracy, no less than corresponding 
demerit in those of his own political faith ; and he was most glad to wield the op- 
position as a scourge of blessing, in the chastisement of peace, to correct the fre- 
quent aberrations of Government. But with all its acknowledged shortcomings 
the Republican organization seemed to him the bearer of the higher concerns of 
the State ; on its shoulders rested the supreme interests of the nation, and to it 
alone he looked for the solution of governmental and of social problems. Even 
the very act of revolt he meant to be remedial rather than destructive, to reform 
rather than to overthrow the party. 





Remarks of the Rev. Dr. W. Pope Yeaman, President of the 
Board of Curators, at the funeral of James Sidney Rollins : 

OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES was asked, "When should the 
training of a child begin?" He replied, "A hundred years be- 
fore the child is born." And might he not have said, "It does begin 
then " ? It has occasionally transpired in the history of men that 
individual characteristics and developments have borne no marks 
of heredity. But these were exceptions to well established rules. 
If we put ourselves to the trouble to search for the explanations 
of remarkable character, we shall find ourselves led back of the 
influence of personal surroundings, and discovering in remote or 
near ancestry the causes of present manifestations. In tracing the 
history of the family of which our honored neighbor was a descend- 
ant, we find ourselves in company with the best blood of Ireland, 
under the influences that developed the patriotism of an Emmet, a 
Curran, a Grattan, and a Phillips. When we come on down to the 
boyhood and youth of James S. Rollins, we find him in Kentucky, 
where the whole population was under the molding spirit and 
manifest impress of pioneer character. As individual progenitors 
impress character upon their progeny, so first settlers leave the im- 
press of their characteristics upon the communities of which they 
are the founders. Central Kentucky was settled by a chivalric, 
bold, cavalier race, whose spirit was developed into self-reliance, 
adventure, and heroism by the nature of the country and the social 
conditions of a primitive and aggressive civilization. The circum- 


stances of early Kentucky life, when civil institutions were to be 
founded, connection with an infant and struggling republic to be 
formed, when newspapers, mails, and the means of transportation 
were novelties, naturally gave to oratory a transcendent value in 
popular esteem. The man who could sway the popular mind and 
lead public thought was the man of influence. Orators were princes 
in that day and among that people. It is simply natural that young 
men of spirit and aspiration should covet and seek the gifts of 
oratory. And particularly would this be the case with one brought 
near to manhood in the shades of Ashland. The Kentucky River 
with its laurel cliffs and picturesque hills flowed in inspiring beauty 
between the early home of our lamented dead and the home of the 
pride of America, with only the distance of a half day's ride inter- 
vening. Leaving these influences for an education in the colleges 
of Pennsylvania and Indiana, and thence to make his home in the 
then far West, and at a time when society was in its formative con- 
dition, it is no surprise that our enlightened young man, trained 
under such a combination of elevating influences, should decide to 
devote himself to a profession involving at once the rights of man 
and the progress of civilization. To be a lawyer in the true sense 
of the term is to have attained the highest development of moral 
and intellectual capabilities and to be prepared for the largest 
contributions to the social and material advancement of humanity. 
The great principles of right which lie at the foundation of true juris- 
prudence, when incorporated with the habit of thought and inter- 
woven with the consciousness of self, lift the subject into a condition 
of being and purpose of life in harmony with the truest conception 
of true manhood. To such men the world owes a debt of gratitude 
that is appreciated by that intelligence which can apprehend the 
forces that ameliorate the conditions of individual life and advance 
the material and social well-being of communities. He who seeks 
the noble and ennobling profession of the law, not in the spirit of 
self-aggrandizement, but in the spirit of truth, and prompted by a 
laudable ambition, is seeking the avenues to the highest secular 
usefulness. Such a man must be a conscientious man ; and when 
to these high attainments there is added the spirit of Him in whom 
infinite law found its embodiment and highest personal exemplifica- 
tions, we have reached the greatest possibilities of human progress. 


It is to the reflecting mind, acquainted with the spirit and intent of 
law, no surprise when a true lawyer turns his heart to God through 
the Lord Jesus Christ. He who uses the name of the legal profes- 
sion as a grab-hook for pennies, lives in a region so low and so 
dark that to himself he imagines eternal trusts a fable or a weak 
sentimentality, and knows not the source of the science whose name 
he would wear but whose spirit has never entered to enlighten his 
own benighted understanding. As a rule, the men whose minds 
are shaped by the study of law are believers in the great facts and 
doctrines of a divine revelation, and sooner or later their hearts are 
turned to sympathy with intellectual convictions. It is a severe 
struggle for a lawyer to be an avowed infidel. The processes of 
thought which make up his mental habit have trained him to per- 
ceptions of truth, and he must do violence to himself when he 
would resist the evidential forces of the history and teachings of 
the church of God. 

The diligent application of a high order of native endowment to 
the acquisition of knowledge, and the use of that knowledge in 
well-chosen directions, make a man a benefactor to his race. Such 
men when they die are losses to the world. Such a man was the 
Honorable James S. Rollins. His commanding form, his courtly 
manners, his genial smile, his inspiring oratory, and his fervent 
patriotism shall be seen and heard and felt by us no more. 
Though dead, yet he speaks. The voice that cheered the home- 
circle, that charmed the multitude, that swayed legislative bodies 
and moved the forum, is silent forever, yet there are works and 
deeds that voice the greatness of the life that was given to Colum- 
bia, to Missouri, to the American people. 

How fitting that all that is mortal of our distinguished fellow- 
citizen should lie in this auditorium for the solemn obsequies of this 
hour ! Was he a friend to this University ? Is a father a friend to 
his child ? Whatever may have been the agency of others in secur- 
ing the founding of this institution and in the enlargement of its 
proportions and in the extension of its fame, certain it is that so far 
as history indicates there would have been no State University in 
Missouri but for the efforts of James S. Rollins. Patriotic eloquence 
in the halls of the Federal Congress helped to shape a nation's 
course in the greatest crisis of all national crises ; wise forethought 


and judicious effort secured that Federal legislation which assured 
the great Pacific-transcontinental system of railways that has con- 
nected the two mighty oceans by indissoluble ties and brought the 
West into an attitude to dominate the nation that is to direct the 
destinies of nations. The polity of a statesman's adopted State re- 
ceives his impress on all the lines of its progress, the forum echoes 
a final and enlightened oratory, but a great University, the boon of 
the past, the heritage of the present, and the glory of the future, 
may be and will be counted the stepping-stone to an enduring 
monument, built not of marble, not of granite, not of bronze, but of 
noble efforts for the good of man — a monument more enduring 
than rock-bound coasts or enchained mountains. 

A progressive and aggressive mind, capable of comprehending 
great principles and directing the details of great enterprises, and 
inspired by laudable ambition and energized by intelligent enthu- 
siasm, must, in the very nature of human society, leave its impress 
upon the people and institutions with which, while living, it was 
allied by sentiment and effort. Could such a man live and not 
encounter antagonisms ? Nay ! no more than good can assert itself 
in a world of evil without conflict. There has never lived a great, 
progressive, and aggressive man but who has had to encounter 
every form and shade of opposition known to the ingenuity of self- 
ishness, jealousy, and rivalry. The world's great benefactors, be 
they philosophers, philanthropists, patriots, statesmen, or ministers 
of the living Christ, have had to endure the contradictions and 
opposition of some of their fellow-men. Is it a discredit to a man 
to be the object of the shafts of calumny and detraction ? Then 
none are without discredit. Even the realization of the divine idea 
of the perfect in humanity was charged with blasphemy, with false- 
hood, and with treason, and was put to death as a vile malefactor. 
Is he a great character at whom no poisoned darts are hurled ? 
Calumny likes a shining mark, and woe is he of whom all men 
speak well. There never lived and moved a truly strong man who 
had not his enemies. Yet perhaps no man of equal strength and 
distinction with our departed neighbor had so few as he to detract 
or to seek to pluck a leaf from his hard-won chaplet of fame. 

As neighbors, as fellow-citizens, as fellow-Christians, we mourn 
our loss. We pay our tribute of affectionate respect to-day, we 


condole with the State, and offer our sincerest sympathies to a 
family bereft of a doting husband and affectionate father. His life 
at his home was marked by generous courtesy, affectionate dignity, 
and indulgent pride. His children and his grandchildren can ever 
speak of "pa" and "grandpa" with a tender sensation that must 
meet with a respectful appreciation by all who hear them. 

The friends of liberty, the lovers of popular education, and every 
citizen grateful to the memory of a patriot-citizen should unite to 
erect in the campus of this University a monument to the memory 
of him who loved Columbia, and who resided within her classic pre- 
cincts, in the same home, for one year more than half a century. 

Remarks 0/MR. R. L. Todd at mass-meeting of the 
citizens of Columbia : 

We are convened on an occasion of no common interest. A 
great man has fallen in our Israel ; our most eminent citizen has 
ceased from his labors. The certainty of this end of our human life 
is known to every one. The experience and observation of every 
age has taught it. The heathen poet sang, "Pallida Mors cequo 
pulsat pede pauperum tabernas regumque turres." Holy- Writ de- 
clares that it is appointed to all men once to die. We mourn the 
loss from among us of one who for more than half a century has 
been prominently identified with every valuable interest of our 
county and State, who has been always, until recently disabled by 
disease, a leader in every measure in public concern, and who, at 
home, in the councils of the State and of the nation, has been recog- 
nized as a man of rare gifts, of fine culture, of distinguished ability, 
of broad and liberal views, of eloquence rarely equaled, of unques- 
tioned courage, and of unswerving patriotism and love of our repub- 
lican institutions. He had passed the limit of three-score years 
and ten mentioned by the Psalmist, and like a shock of corn fully 
ripe in his season has fallen. He has passed to his reward. We 
who have known him long and well are met to pay our last tribute 
of affection and regard to the memory of him who in all the diver- 
sified and distracting pursuits of an active and many-sided life never 
for a moment failed in his loyalty and intelligent regard for the in- 
terests of his own county and State. It is no rash statement to say 


that to him more than to any other man, living or dead, Boone 
County owes its prosperity and progress. 

My first acquaintance with Major Rollins began in 1834, when he, 
a young lawyer of twenty-two just from the law school of Tran- 
sylvania University, located here to practise his profession. He was 
chosen a trustee of Columbia College, thus early manifesting the 
zeal for the education of the young which became the master passion 
of his life. He had been educated at Washington College, Pennsyl- 
vania, and followed its distinguished President, Dr. Andrew Wylie, 
to Bloomington, Indiana, when he became president of the State 
University of Indiana, which gave Mr. Rollins his degree of A. B. 
One of his class-mates there was Thomas Miller, a nephew of Dr. 
Wylie, and he secured the election of Mr. Miller as president of the 
infant Columbia College, and no choice could have been wiser. 
Of all the scholarly men who have honored our community by 
becoming a part of it, President Miller was second to none in 
accurate, elegant scholarship. 

Rollins and Miller afterwards became partners in the practice of 
law, and bought the Missouri Intelligencer, which Nathaniel Patton 
had brought here from Fayette; established the Columbia Patriot, 
which they conducted for some years and until Colonel Miller's fail- 
ing health induced him to start, by a then long and perilous travel 
to Santa Fe, New Mexico — which, however, he never reached, find- 
ing his last resting-place on the wide-spreading plains, ministered 
to by rude but kindly hands. No man mourned for another more 
than did Rollins for Miller — hence this sketch of my beloved, hon- 
ored teacher, Professor Miller. A few years later Major Rollins is 
found in our State Legislature, where his connection with the act to 
establish and locate a State University is matter of common knowl- 
edge. Its location in this place, advocated and urged by the wise, 
thoughtful, liberal men of 1839, who were a unit in the cause, was 
still due more to the zeal and efficiency of Major Rollins than to any 
other one man ; and from that time to the day of his death he was 
its wise, thoughtful, zealous, faithful friend, bringing to its service a 
wealth of intelligence, zeal, time, persistence, to the sacrifice of his 
private interests, which few men had and fewer still could have 
afforded to bestow on it. I do not recount his long legislative ser- 
vice, but pass to the next great public benefit he conferred on our 


county — the location of the North Missouri Railroad. Had our 
neighboring counties been blessed with such men as Rollins, that 
road would have been built through Fulton, Columbia, and Fayette, 
instead of merely touching our county. 

In i860 he was elected to the lower House of Congress, where 
he served two terms in the fearful convulsion of our civil war, main- 
taining there the reputation for learning and ability which he had 
earned so well before. It is not slight praise to say that he bore 
his full part in the passage of measures which have fortunately, un- 
der the blessing of Heaven, resulted in a reunited, glorious — let us 
trust, perpetual — sisterhood of States, constituting a Federal Union 
whose proud ability to suppress an insurrection of the most formid- 
able nature is the surest guaranty of continued peace with other 
nations. We cannot overlook his services in the Legislature from 
1866 to 1870, in which last year, after repeated and disheartening 
failures, he aided in securing the location of the Agricultural and 
Mechanical College, provided for by Act of Congress of July, 1862, 
as a part of our State University. For years every effort to estab- 
lish this College had been defeated. It was a matter of life and 
death to the University. If the State, with the limited means at- 
tainable, should unwisely establish, as an independent institution, 
the College required by act of Congress, the expenditure would have 
been so immense that all hope of adequate State aid for the support 
of the University would have to be abandoned. To the settlement 
of this question Major Rollins gave himself wholly, never neglect- 
ing an opportunity nor for long months absenting himself for a day 
from the sessions of the Legislature until triumph crowned his efforts, 
the University was placed on a footing where its future was assured, 
and the State saved from a disastrous and costly mistake. Had 
constituency ever a more faithful or efficient representative ? 

I have briefly sketched only a few of the salient features of the 
life of our friend. You will naturally ask why many important and 
interesting incidents have been passed over without notice. No at- 
tempt is made to give an exhaustive analysis of his life and services. 
Other gentlemen will do further justice to his memory. But what 
of the man, what of the personality that lay behind and inspired his 
life ? He was a gifted man ; blessed with a fine presence, courtly 
manners, highly educated, and fond of literary pursuits, he sought 


and was welcomed always by the first and best, to whose assembly 
he added additional grace and charm. Genial, accessible, patient, 
he won men and grappled them to him as with hooks of steel. To 
young men he was always gracious and kindly, full of encourage- 
ment and good words. His friendships were enduring and absorb- 
ing, and knew no wavering. I shall be pardoned for naming as his 
friends, among those no longer on earth, Blair, Bingham, Lathrop, 
Read. Was he ever known for a moment to falter in his devotion 
to them ? 

Fond of popular applause, glad to be greeted as a friend, he knew 
how to oppose and breast popular opinion, when he thought it 
wrong, with a fearlessness and courage that never quailed and 
which won the admiration of his opposers. Few men possessed in 
so happy a combination the sttaviter in modo with the fortiter in re ; 
and many of those who will grieve with unutterable sorrow to 
learn that he no longer lives and moves among men, and who will 
hasten gladly to pay their tender tributes to his memory, will be 
found in the ranks of those with whom he had the fiercest conflicts. 

A noble, knightly man, full of generous impulses, brave, true, 
wise, his course is run, his work is ended, and with a benison on his 
memory this imperfect tribute to his work and worth is laid upon 
his tomb. He is not lost. Such men are not lost. His influence 
abides. We are all of us more or less molded and fashioned by 
his speech and action, and in a large sense he has left his impress, 
and so become a part of the life and thought of all who came in con- 
tact with him. 

Death hath made no breach 

In love and sympathy, in hope and trust; 

No outward sight or sound our ears may reach, 

But there is an inward, spiritual speech 

Which greets us still, tho' mortal tongue be dust. 


Passed by the Board of Curators of the University of Missouri. 

Whereas, the Great King in his dispensations, alike merciful and just, 
has removed from this earthly tabernacle, and as we trust and believe has 


awakened in his heavenly kingdom which passeth understanding and 
which fadeth not away, that wise and distinguished citizen, Major James S. 
Rollins, so long a member of this board and its president, and ever an un- 
failing friend of the University of Missouri, therefore, 

Resolved by this Board of Curators as follows : 

1. That while we bow in submission to the decree of the Most High, we 
share in the feelings of humanity — those ennobling sentiments which he 
has implanted in us — and mourn with those who mourn, and deplore the 
departure, not unwise, but unwished, of one who was by nature a prince 
among men, and who, whether in public or in private enterprises, in the 
councils of the State or of the nation, brought the resources of genius to the 
aid of great and valuable objects. 

2. That we recognize in our late associate a man of wide and prophetic 
mental vision, gifted with resources of mind and charms of manner that 
made his converse a delight to all that sought it, a safe and trusted coun- 
selor in every emergency, prudent and yet bold in action, faithful to friends 
without bitterness to opposers, patriotic, ever awake to the highest interests 
of his community, his State and his country, generous in his estimate of the 
motives and abilities of men, liberal in all those benefactions that are for 
the common good, a citizen in the best and largest sense, and a devoted 
advocate of education for the rich and the poor, the high and the low, be- 
cause he truly believed that it is the sure conservator of our government and 

3. That while we know that it is not within the power of mortals to give 
to those who are near and dear to the honored dead by blood or affinity 
the true consolation and comfort, yet we assure them that they have — and 
will have — our tenderest sympathy in this darkening of their house, and we 
beg them to remember that their loved one went not away as one lost, for- 
lorn, or forgotten, nor as a ship foundered in mid-ocean, but in the midst 
of his family and friends, full of years and honors, the wealth of his heart 
and mind largely given to his fellow-men, and having, by his profession be- 
fore the world, laid fast hold upon eternal life. 

4. That the secretary of this board do furnish copies of this preamble and 
resolution to the local papers for publication, and a certified copy thereof 
to the family of the deceased ; that he engross the same on the blank page 
of the record immediately following the minutes of this meeting ; and that 
the auditorium of the University be draped in mourning for the period of 
thirty days. 

J. J. Campbell, \ 

J. C. Cravens, > Committee. 

D. C. Allen, ) 


State Board of Agriculture. 

Mr. John S. Clarkson came before the board and reported the 
following resolutions with reference to the death of Major James S. 
Rollins, which were unanimously adopted : 

Whereas, The State Board of Agriculture has heard with profound regret 
of the death of Hon. James S. Rollins, 

Resolved, That this board recognizes and realizes in the removal by 
death of this eminent citizen the loss of one of the ornaments and treasures 
of our State, who has for half a century shed honor on the State, has been 
foremost in every enterprise calculated to build up our State and nation, and 
whose wise and comprehensive views have been largely embodied in our 
State and national legislation. As the author of the bill connecting the 
Agricultural and Mechanical College with the State University, and as the 
wise, earnest, and persistent friend of that College, he is properly held in 
warm and tender remembrance by this board representing the great agricul- 
tural interests of the State. Himself a farmer, Major Rollins was in close 
sympathy with his brother farmers, who share with every other interest in 
this common loss. 

Resolved, That we tender to the bereaved family of our distinguished 
fellow-citizen assurances of our earnest sympathy with them in their loss and 

Resolved, That a copy of this paper be forwarded to the family of the 
deceased, and to the newspapers for publication. 

John S. Clarkson, 


Executive Committee of the Board of Curators. 

At a meeting held in the room of the Curators January 9, 1888, 
the following resolutions were unanimously adopted : 

Whereas, This committee has this day heard, with deep sorrow, of the 
death of the Hon. James S. Rollins, a former President of the Board of 
Curators, and of all men he who is entitled to the appellation, " Father of the 
Missouri University "; therefore, 

Resolved, That this committee express to the family of the deceased its un- 
feigned sympathy with them in this their deep grief and irreparable loss. 

Resolved, That we appreciate and lament the loss to the cause of education 
in this State occasioned by the death of our honored and lamented fellow- 

Resolved, That in common with the people of this great commonwealth, 
we mourn the loss of an eminent statesman, a true patriot, a friend of hu- 


manity, and an active and efficient promoter of general, social, and material 

Resolved, That the University buildings be draped in mourning for our 
departed illustrious friend and promoter, and that the chapel be and is duly 
tendered the family of the deceased for the obsequies, should the same be 

W. Pope Yeaman, Pres. Board Curators. 

J. H. Drummond, Secretary. 

Faculty of the University. 

At a meeting of the Faculty of the University of Missouri, on 
the morning of January 9, 1888, a committee consisting of Dr. S. 
S. Laws, Professor Broadhead, Professor Blackwell, and Professor 
Schwitzer was appointed to draft resolutions expressive of the sense 
of the Faculty with respect to the death of Major James S. Rollins. 
The committee reported as follows : 

James Sidney Rollins was an extraordinary man. In any walk 
of life he would have been a leader. He stood early in the fore- 
front in the profession he chose — a man of commanding abilities, 
gifted by nature with such qualities as made him loved and admired 
by men. While still in the glowing ardor of youth his brilliant ver- 
satility of endowment and acquisition won him prizes of laudable 
ambition. His amiable genius ripened with his years and was most 
nobly and unfalteringly pronounced in battling for higher education 
in his beloved Missouri. Whether in the Senate of our own State or 
in the halls of Congress, his voice was ever loud and effective for the 
best rights of the people. It is thus that we must chiefly remember 
him, associated as we are with lasting memorials of his name. His 
love for education was an inheritance, and he grandly and conspic- 
uously and manfully executed his trust. Those who have often heard 
the pleadings of his powerful oratory will feelingly recall the moving 
glance of his impassioned eye, the sweep of his impetuous arm, and 
the magnificent eloquence which burst vehemently from his lips while 
influenced by this ruling idea and under the hearty inspiration of this 
favorite theme. 

In our intercourse with him as Curator, adviser, and friend his 
courtesy was unfailing, his patience untiring, and his counsels en- 
couraging and faithful. Therefore be it 


Resolved, By the Faculty of the University of Missouri, that we mourn as 
an organization and as individuals the loss to the University and to the State 
of the advice, assistance, encouragement, and presence of James Sidney 
Rollins, who for seventeen years presided over the destinies of this institu- 
tion as a representative of the State in the Presidency of the Board of 

Resolved, That as citizens we grieve for the loss to our community of a 
great and good man, enterprising, public-spirited, philanthropic, charitable, 
courteous, brave — a leader in our councils, a voice of wisdom in our per- 
plexity, a staff on which to lean in our distress. 

Resolved, That as an outward symbol of our sorrow the personal emblems 
of our friend in the library, together with the University building, be draped, 
and that the exercises of the University be suspended until the burial, and 
that we attend the funeral in a body. 

Resolved, That in testimony of our sympathy these resolutions be spread 
upon the Faculty record, that a copy of them be sent to the family of the 
deceased, and a copy to the papers for publication. 

Resolutions of the Students. 

Whereas, It has pleased an all-wise God, in the sequence of his laws 
and dispensation of his providences, to remove from our midst the spirit of 
that veteran statesman and friend of higher education, Hon. James S. Rol- 
lins ; and 

Whereas, In addition to his distinguished private virtues, James S. Rol- 
lins was for many years the devoted champion and zealous helper of our 
institution; and 

Whereas, The youth of Missouri, for his earnest and lifelong endeavors 
owe to him a debt of gratitude, our realization of which the years as they 
come will serve but to increase ; and 

Whereas, Upon us, the students of the University of the State of Mis- 
souri, the loss comes with added weight, recognizing, as we do, that to him 
more than to any other individual is due whatever of success, prosperity, 
and advancement the University has shown, and that the Board of Curators 
conferred no empty title when they, as Virginia honored her immortal Jef- 
ferson, honored him with the appellation of the " Father of the University 
of Missouri " ; therefore, 

Resolved, That we, the students of the University of Missouri, individ- 
ually and as a body, express our deep sorrow at the loss of so firm a friend 
to that education which lies at the basis of an enduring republican govern- 


Resolved, That we extend our sincere sympathy to the bereaved family 
and relatives, and, as far as possible, attend the funeral in a body. 

Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be sent to the family, and also 
to the Columbia, St. Louis, and Kansas City papers for publication. 

Board of Trustees. 

At a meeting of the Board of Trustees of Columbia, held on Mon- 
day afternoon, a committee consisting of Captain James A. Adams, 
George W. Henderson and F. W. Peck was appointed to draft res- 
olutions of respect to the memory of the Hon. James S. Rollins. The 
committee reported the following action : 

Whereas, We, as trustees of the inhabitants of the town of Columbia, 
have received the intelligence of the death, on Monday, January 9, 1888, 
of the Hon. James S. Rollins, for fifty years identified with the growth and 
interest of our town, and who in that time has done much to advance 
the material welfare of this community, therefore be it 

Resolved, That we, as trustees, learn with deep regret the removal from 
our midst of one so long identified with our community's progress and 
growth, and 

Resolved, That we mourn his loss as that of a true friend to humanity, 
one ever ready with means and personal efforts to advance every right cause 
and every commendable public enterprise — foremost as a public citizen and 
an active and able friend and promoter of material and social progress. 

Resolved, That we extend to the bereaved family an earnest sympathy in 
a loss so irreparable, and so generally felt by the community which their 
distinguished dead so long honored. 

Resolved, That this board attend the funeral of the deceased, to be held 
on Wednesday, January 11, 1888, in a body. 

The Citizens of Columbia. 

At a mass meeting held in the Court House, January 10, 1888, 
the following resolutions, read by Colonel Squire Turner, were 
adopted : 

Whereas, On Monday, January 9, 1888, the Hon. James S. Rollins, 
nearly sixty years a citizen of Boone County, was called from our midst by 
the fiat of Him whose awful summons none may disregard ; and 

Whereas, We, his fellow citizens of Boone County, who so much honored 
him, and who were so much honored by him living, have assembled in 


mass meeting to give expression to the profound sense of bereavement be- 
fallen us in the death of a great man and distinguished citizen, be it there- 

Resolved, That in the death of our illustrious fellow-citizen and friend we 
are forcibly and mournfully reminded that the great pioneers of our country 
and commonwealth are rapidly passing away ; that few are left of those 
lofty spirits who braved the dangers and endured the hardships of our infant 
State in the earlier years of the present century, who with unwearying en- 
ergy, clear judgment, and almost prophetic forethought blazed out the high- 
ways through our primitive wilderness, ceaselessly struggled with stubborn 
nature, rescued from its wild grasp our generous soil, made our fields green 
and fruitful, planted infant cities now metropolitan in importance on the 
banks of our great rivers, called into being those activities and agencies un- 
der whose inspiration the vast network of iron nerves has overspread our 
State which has dotted our broad prairies and teeming valleys with thrifty 
hamlets, villages, and towns, and who impressed upon fundamental and 
statute law the educational system which has elevated Missouri to the front 
rank of all republics, ancient or modern. 

Resolved, That on the roll of the great men of our State the name of 
James S. Rollins is prominently and indelibly inscribed, and when we be- 
held him standing amidst intellectual giants in the popular and representa- 
tive assemblies of our State and nation we recalled with pride that he, our 
neighbor, our citizen, and friend, was recognized as a peer — blessed as he 
was with a profusion of gifts and graces rarely accorded to man. Keen and 
penetrating and marvelously alert in mind, untiring in effort, persistent in 
zeal, unmatched in all the arts of oratory, eloquent in every look and tone 
and clarion-like utterance, and inspired with a sublime faith in his polit- 
ical creeds, he did heroic duty in securing " liberty and education for all," 
and in promoting the material development and growth of our State and 
'common country. 

Resolved, That while our county and State have lost a valuable and es- 
teemed citizen and the whole Union one who ranked among its foremost 
statesmen, society an ornament and guide, and all humankind a friend, 
keenly alive to the immeasurable loss we have ourselves sustained, we can 
the more sincerely appreciate the grief of those linked to him by the ties of 
consanguinity. We therefore tender to his family assurances of our kindest 
sympathy and condolence. 

It was moved and carried that a copy of these resolutions be pre- 
sented to the press of the county and to the family of the deceased; 
also that the business men of the town be requested to close from 
10 A. M. to 2 P. M. 


Officers and Members of the Bar. 

The members of the Bar Association and the Boone County 
officers met and adopted the following resolutions : 

Whereas, It has pleased Almighty God to take from among us our dis- 
tinguished fellow-citizen, neighbor and friend, the Hon. James S. Rollins, 
therefore be it 

Resolved, That in the death of Major James S. Rollins his county and 
State have lost a good citizen, a true and distinguished statesman, a patriot 
who loved his people and his country; that he has passed in our midst a 
useful and honorable life, devoted to the cause of education and the ad- 
vancement of our State University, and the elevation of the people of his 
county and State, and we take pride in saying of him, " Well done, thou 
good and faithful servant." 

Resolved, That as a member of the Bar of this State for more than fifty 
years we honor and revere his memory for his ability and integrity, and we 
recognize him as one who had but few equals and no superiors at the Bar as 
an orator and as an advocate, and in private life a type of a true man and 
a gentleman, at all times polite, sociable, generous, and kind, alike to the 
humble and to the great, a trait that made him most beloved and honored 
by all classes in every station of life. 

Resolved, That we honor him, as we feel that no man, living or dead, has 
done more to foster and build up Boone County and her educational insti- 
tutions than has James S. Rollins, and it is his greatest honor, as we can 
truthfully say, that he is the father and founder of the University of Missouri. 

Resolved, That in the discharge of his public trust he was honest, true, and 
faithful, and acted promptly and decisively in carrying out his well formed 
and matured convictions, and in the darkest hour of his country's peril he 
was found in the foremost ranks, wherever his country or his duties called 
him. His emblazoned motto, written upon every page of his life's history; 
was, " Freedom and education to all." 

Resolved, That we extend to his bereaved family our heartfelt sympathy 
and condolence, in this their greatest loss and misfortune, and that a copy 
of these resolutions be furnished them, and the public journals of Boone 
County, and also to the Courts of Record in this county, to be spread upon 
their records. 

Boone County National Bank. 

At a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Boone County 
National Bank of Columbia the following resolutions in regard to 
the death of Major Rollins were passed : 


With profound regret the board of directors of this bank places upon its 
record the melancholy announcement of the death of the Hon. James S. 
Rollins at his residence in Columbia on January 9, 1888. 

He assisted in the organization of the bank February, 1871, and was one 
of its stockholders and directors, as he was also of its predecessor, as far 
back as 1858, when the first chartered banking institution in Boone County 
was organized, and he sustained these relations from that time until a few 
months ago, when he severed his official connection as a member of this 
board, but retained to the day of his death a large interest in its stock. In 
view of which fact be it therefore 

Resolved, That we bear sincere testimony to his wisdom, his liberality, his 
integrity, and his valuable services as a member of this board, and in his 
death we recognize the loss of a most valued associate and friend. 

Resolved, That the loss involved extends far beyond the limits of our bus- 
iness operations, and will be profoundly felt by the community at large. 
For a half century he was foremost in every enterprise having in view the 
social, material, and intellectual prosperity of the State, and especially of 
Boone County, and to his wisdom, his efficiency, and his eloquence is due 
its progress as much as to any man living or dead. 

Resolved, That to his bereaved relatives we offer our tenderest sympathies, 
and that a copy of these resolutions be transmitted to his family; also that 
copies be furnished the newspapers of Columbia for publication. 

From the "Missouri Statesman." 

Of all the distinguished men who have shed luster upon the State 
of Missouri, whether born within her boundaries or on other soil, 
no one of them has a brighter fame or a stronger hold upon the 
public confidence and respect than James S. Rollins. His life was 
one of unselfish devotion to the best interests of humanity, and his 
chief aim to advance the greatness and prosperity of his adopted 
State. Most men who are distinguished in history attained that 
distinction by pursuing one object, or in advancing some special 
theory ; but he was equally devoted to all measures which, in his 
judgment, were calculated to promote the public good and the ele- 
vation of the race. 

In the early part of his political career we find Mr. Rollins favor- 
ing and earnestly advocating those measures of internal improve- 
ment which distinguished the policy of the Whig party, of which 
he was a member. 


The colonization and emancipation views of Henry Clay also en- 
listed his sympathies, and later in life, when the salvation and integ- 
rity of his country demanded the emancipation of the slaves and 
their subsequent advancement to citizenship, he did not hesitate to 
give his aid to the movement by voice and pen, though incurring 
the displeasure of old associates, and at the sacrifice of his own per- 
sonal interests. 

His interest in the cause of education led to the establishment of 
the State University, the Agricultural College and Mining School, 
and in the perfection of the grand system of education which is to- 
day the pride and boast of Missouri. The record of such a life is 
well worth preserving, and in it the coming generation may find 
much for instruction and improvement. 

From the " Columbian." 

Columbia mourns the death of her most distinguished citizen. 
For over half a century his home has been in this city, and no other 
man has done so much to give to Columbia her character for cul- 
ture and refinement. A great man, a distinguished citizen, a patron 
of education, has passed unto the silent shades of the dead ; but he 
lives in the record of deeds performed, and in the elevating and en- 
nobling influences which he set in motion. Such a man cannot die, 
for it is an immutable law that his works follow him, and good deeds 
never die. His life is a heritage of incalculable value. The true 
wealth of a State consists more in the virtue and intelligence of the 
people than in houses and lands. In the rush and whirl of life 
the real worth of a man is often obscured by the friction of con- 
tending interests and personal ambitions ; but when the cold clods 
cover his mortal remains we see with an unclouded vision, and ap- 
preciate more fully the grandeur and nobility of character. Look- 
ing at the life of Major Rollins and judging it in the light of the 
present and unfolding future, we can truly say, that in all those 
higher qualities that go to make up a great man he was the equal 
of Missouri's most distinguished sons; and when, we consider the 
beneficent results of his labors none have more indelibly impressed 
themselves upon the institutions of the State. It is meet and 


proper that we, as his neighbors, award to him the highest honors, 
and cherish his memory with the most tender and affectionate re- 

From the " Columbia Herald." 

The honor paid to the memory of James S. Rollins is in recogni- 
tion of his service to the public. It is not because he was a great 
orator, or possessed intellectual force, or had accumulated a large 
fortune — honorable as all these are. It is not for what he did for 
himself, but what he did for society, for he was public-spirited to 
an eminent degree. This ought to be a lesson to those of us who 
remain. It is what we do for others — not for ourselves — that lives 
after us. Benevolence is not wastefulness. It is in fact the only 
permanent and safe investment. Nothing is more far-seeing and 
elevating than public spirit ; nothing more short-sighted and soul- 
shriveling than niggardliness. Society honors the generous to the 
extent that it despises the stingy, because the former are the wheels 
of its progress, the latter the clogs upon its wheels. Every man 
who reaps the benefits of society is under a moral obligation to bear 
his share of its burdens, and he who shirks such obligation deserves 
only obloquy and contempt. 

In the death of Honorable James S. Rollins Boone County loses 
her most distinguished citizen. For over fifty years he filled a con- 
spicuous place in the history of Missouri, and we recall now the 
name of no citizen who was for so long a period prominent in pub- 
lic affairs. For sixteen years a member of the General Assembly, 
twice a candidate for Governor, twice receiving more than the full 
vote of his party when its nominee for that office, twice a Member 
of Congress, and repeatedly honored with other positions of trust, 
he left an impress upon the history of the State which will never 

Foremost in every enterprise for the material and intellectual ad- 
vancement of Boone County, the growth of our community has been 
as much due to his efforts as to that of any man past or present. 
It can be said of him in all truth that his loyalty never flagged, and 
that his wisdom, his sagacity, his tact, and his eloquence, from the 


beginning to the close of his career, were persistently wielded in her 

Coming to Missouri when just emerging into manhood, his own 
budding powers, even then remarkable for their vigor, were syn- 
chronous with the infant struggles of our commonwealth, as his ma- 
turing years have been contemporaneous with its development. 
He at once identified himself with public affairs, and, until physi- 
cally disabled, never relaxed his efforts. 

He possessed a marked individuality. To a strong will he 
added a capacious and well-poised intellect, adorned by culture and 
strengthened by exercise. His powers of eloquence were rare and, 
when in his prime, unsurpassed, while his courtliness of manner 
rendered his social life one of peculiar attractiveness. As a man 
among men in the busy enterprises of life he evinced great tact and 
force and exercised a commanding influence, and his wise and 
ready counsel was always supplemented by a prompt and corre- 
sponding liberality. 

The location and growth of the State University and Agricul- 
tural College and most of the legislation involving its advancement 
must perhaps stand as the proudest monument to his memory, and 
the cause of higher education in Missouri will be forever linked with 
the name and fame of James S. Rollins. 

Major Rollins will live in history as one of the most accomplished 
orators Missouri has ever claimed. His great exemplar, as he was 
accustomed himself to say, was Henry Clay, and he was no un- 
worthy disciple of his illustrious model. In fluency of expression, 
in adroitness of argument and appeal, and in artistic grace he was 
without a peer. His powers developed at a very early age. Be- 
fore he had reached twenty-five years he had a State reputation, and 
for thirty-five years subsequently — from 1837 to 1872, when he 
largely retired from public life — he was constantly before the peo- 
ple, frequently as a candidate, but always as a defender of those 
political principles in which he believed. He was a most popular 
orator, and such was his charm of manner, his ability and force, that 
rarely was he other than successful on the stump. His campaigns 
with Robert M. Stewart and Austin A. King for Governor, with 
John B. Henderson for Congress, and his debates with James S. 
Green, John B. Clark, and numerous other intellectual giants of the 


day will live in history as among the most memorable forensic com- 
bats in the history of the State. 

From the Missouri " Republican." 

Major James S. Rollins, whose death at his quiet home in Boone 
County yesterday is recorded in our news columns, was a Missourian 
of whom every Missourian is proud. He was a gentleman of the 
old school, cultured, modest, capable. He served his State and his 
country with conspicuous ability. He was a loyal citizen, a brave 
soldier, a wise legislator. There are few men of whom so much that 
is good can be said, few against whom so little that is bad may be 
charged. His monument, more lasting than brass, is to be found 
in the public-school system of Missouri, culminating in the State 
University — the ideal of his life. For more than fifty years Major 
Rollins lived in this commonwealth, and it is not an exaggeration to 
say that each of those years was fruitful of good, not alone to those 
who were near him, but to the whole of the youth of Missouri. 
Just half a century ago, in 1838, he introduced in the State Legisla- 
ture the bill which created the University of the State. It has been 
his care and his pride to see the institution flourish up to the day 
when he lay down to his well-earned rest. His public service is of 
record, and it is enough to say that in the seventy-six years of his 
busy life the purity of his motives and the disinterestedness of his 
conduct were never impugned. When the war came on he was a 
thoroughgoing Unionist, parting with friends and associates who had 
been about him for a lifetime, and it is a signal testimony to his 
character that even in that crisis he retained not alone the respect 
but the affection of those who differed with him most bitterly. He 
has lived well and he has died well, finishing a life full of years and 
honors with an appropriate ending. The State of Missouri has lost 
a useful citizen, but it has still something which death could not re- 
move — the example of a noble life for other Missourians to imitate. 

Having few equals and no superiors as an accomplished scholar, 
he was not selfishly inclined to limit the opportunities for educa- 
tion, but warmly and earnestly favored their extension and applica- 
tion to the wants of all the people, believing the permanence and 
strength of a republican government rested upon the foundation of 


intelligence and enlightened civilization. As a citizen he possessed 
great liberality, and not only enjoyed the implicit confidence of his 
neighbors, but their warmest friendship and respect. No man in 
Missouri has lived to confer higher and more lasting honor upon its 
history or will be more generously remembered. 

From the St. Louis " Globe- Democrat." 

The death of Major Rollins lessens by one the number of those 
among the living of whom Missouri has reason to be proud because 
of their active pioneer work in the early days of the State. It may 
truly be said of Major Rollins that in his younger days he did the 
State much service in developing its resources and in laying the 
foundation for its subsequent growth and its present greatness. He 
was a man of unusual ability and of sterling integrity — faithful to 
every trust in the family, in the social circle, in the State, and in 
the nation. Ripe in years and full of honors, he has passed away, 
leaving behind him a name that will always appear fresh upon the 
pages of the history of his adopted State. 

From the Kansas City "Journal." 

Mr. Rollins was not a mere politician, but had wide, enlightened 
views upon all public questions. He passed a long and active and 
honorable life, devoted in a very great degree to the advancement 
of his people, his State, and his country. In private life he was kind, 
polite, sociable, and generous, and always earnest in promoting the 
best interests of the people among whom he so long resided. 

From the Jefferson City " Tribune." 

Major James S. Rollins died at his home near Columbia, Mo., 
Monday. He was a progressive man, and the State owes him much. 
Major Rollins was the first to head every enterprise and the last 
man to become discouraged. He was a great friend of education, 
and the State University was a constant object of his attention and 
certainly owes more to him than to any other man, living or dead. 


Major Rollins belonged to that hardy class of pioneers whose energy 
and enterprise developed Missouri into what she is to-day. Truly 
the State has lost a good citizen. 

From the Marshall "Progress." 

Whether in the halls of Congress, in the State Senate, or as Presi- 
dent of the Board of Curators of the State University, his has always 
been a noble figure, and that silver tongue that is now silent has 
pleaded the cause of enlightenment, improvement, and elevation ot 
our race and country more continuously, ably, and earnestly than 
that of almost any other contemporary in this broad State. James S. 
Rollins was preeminently a man of polish and culture. Never need 
any one talk of the rude statesmen of the wild West when alluding to 
him. He had a grace of address and a suavity of bearing that would 
have attracted admiration at the Court of St. James, if he had been 
the United States minister to that most polished circle of European 
diplomacy. His voice had a melody, his manner had a charm, that 
reminded one of all that one had read of his great leader and proto- 
type, Henry Clay. His orations, even when extemporaneous, had 
the finish of conception and the symmetry of arrangement and ex- 
pression that made him the Edward Everett of Missouri. To hear 
him, as we once did in Columbia, rise and pay the last tribute of 
respect to a deceased member of the bar was an era in any man's 
development in the conception of true oratory. The whole court- 
room seemed to be listening to Cicero on the vanity of human life 
and the transience of all human interests. He was a great man. 

From the Lexington "Intelligencer." 

Major James S. Rollins died at his home, near Columbia, last 
Monday. For a long time he was one of the most prominent figures 
in the politics of this State. He served for many years in both 
branches of the Legislature, and he was two terms in Congress. 
He was justly spoken of as the father of the State University. He 
was a man of broad views, patriotic and honest in his public and 
irreproachable in his private life. 


From the Mexico "Intelligencer." 

Major James S. Rollins represented the old Boone district in Con- 
gress for several terms and made for himself a national reputation 
as an orator and a statesman. Along in the sixties the contests 
between Rollins and John B. Henderson for Congress were events 
in which the entire State felt an active interest. The men were 
pretty evenly matched intellectually. Both were fine orators and 
each had a devoted following of personal and political friends. . . . 
Columbia is largely indebted to the distinguished dead for her sub- 
stantial prosperity and advanced position in the educational world. 
Missouri has had few abler citizens than James S. Rollins, and 
Columbia was for many years the special object of his thought 
and care. The State University is a monument to his untiring 
and intelligent exertions. 

From the Tuscola (Ills.) "Review." 

Honorable James S. Rollins (or Major Rollins, as he was better 
known, he having obtained that title by serving as aide-de-camp in 
the Black Hawk War), one of the foremost men of his day, died at 
his country seat near Columbia, Mo., on Monday morning, in his 
seventy-sixth year. He was the founder of the common-school 
system of that State and of the University of Missouri. He served in 
both branches of the Legislature, was twice a candidate for governor, 
and served two terms in Congress during the Civil War. 

It is a singular coincidence that he was born on the thirty-seventh 
anniversary of the battle of Lexington, and died on the day on which 
the seventy-third anniversary of the battle of New Orleans was 
celebrated this year, the figures of these two anniversaries thus 
being reversed. 

From the Richmond (Ky.) "Register." 

Honorable J. S. Rollins was born in Richmond, Ky., April 19, 
18 12, and died in Columbia, Mo., on the 9th day of January, 1888. 

His father, Dr. A. W. Rollins, was a distinguished physician, and 
his mother was a daughter of Judge Robert Rodes, and a sister of 
Colonel William Rodes, who died some years ago the most widely 
known and best beloved citizen of Madison County. 


Dr. Rollins, recognizing the evidences of talent, ambition, and 
strong character in his son, gave him the best opportunities for 
culture and study, such as would fit him for his brilliant future 
destiny. He was prepared for college at the Madison Seminary, 
where, among other school-fellows, he was associated with C. M. 
Clay, United States Minister to St. Petersburg ; with Brutus J. Clay 
of Bourbon, long at the head of Kentucky's farmer princes ; with 
Samuel F. Miller, Justice of the Supreme Court of the United 
States ; with John F. Ryland, of the Supreme Court of Missouri, 
and others, many of whom obtained wide and honorable dis- 

Following Dr. Wylie from Pennsylvania, he was graduated at the 
Indiana State University in 1830, and in 1834 in the law department 
of Transylvania, at Lexington. 

Dr. Rollins having removed in 1830 to Boone County, Mo., young 
Rollins in 1834 opened a law office in Columbia, the shire town of 
that county, and at once, at a bar where Leonard, Hayden, Turner, 
and Gordon were then conspicuous, sprang into successful practice, 
recognized as a sound lawyer and able jury advocate. But he found 
the practice and drudgery of the profession distasteful, and was 
allured from it by the glitter and fascination of politics, in which his 
popular manners, graceful bearing, high intelligence, and unquailing 
courage marked him for leadership in all the struggles of contending 
parties. The history of his public life need not here be given in 
detail. That has been written heretofore, and is widely known 
throughout the Republic. Let it only be stated that he was often 
honored by elections to the House of Representatives and the Senate 
of his adopted State, by services in the Thirty-seventh and Thirty- 
eighth Congresses of the United States, by the support of his political 
party twice for the Governorship of Missouri, and for the Senatorship 
in the national Congress, with many other important public stations 
covering a period of forty years ; and it can be said with no exag- 
geration that at no time during this long career of honor and use- 
fulness was he thrown in contact with one superior to himself in 
manly courage, in patriotic integrity, or in devotion to right and 
duty. His impress has been left upon the legislation of Missouri in 
all its parts, and especially in establishing upon broad and enduring 
foundations the cause of popular education. 


Mr. Jefferson was no more entitled to have inscribed upon his 
monument at Monticello, " Father of the University of Virginia," 
than Mr. Rollins on his own that he was the " Father of the Uni- 
versity of Missouri." Throughout long years, through good report 
and evil report, in storms and sunshine, in the dark hours of gloom 
and disaster as now in the broad light of its perfect day, he was its 
patron and defender, its guide and beacon light. By his appeals to 
the justice of the State authorities, and from his own purse, aided 
by the munificence of his father, many thousands of dollars were 
poured into its treasury for the good of the children of the poor, 
especially such as avowed a wish to preach the Gospel of the Saviour 
of mankind. These valuable services have been often appropriately 
recognized, and the walls of the university library are adorned 
with a full-length portrait and a bust in bronze of the distinguished 

At a time when Missouri was dominated by the power and in- 
fluence of Benton, James S. Rollins began his political career, im- 
bued with the teachings of Clay, and Webster, and John Marshall. 
He followed the banner of the Whig party so long as it survived, 
and when it ceased to live he adhered to its doctrines. With him 
the Government of the United States was not a league, but a nation 
bottomed on a written constitution, intended among other blessings 
to secure a perfect and indissoluble Union ; and standing aloof at 
all times from connection with the extremists of the North — Phillips, 
Garrison, and John Brown — who proclaimed the national bond 
" a covenant with death and a league with hell," he equally abhorred, 
though himself a large slaveholder, the dogma of Toombs, Rhett, 
and Jefferson Davis that negro slavery was the rock on which the 
national fabric should rest. And so when, upon the election of 
Mr. Lincoln in i860, the war for the preservation of the national 
Union broke out, he at once ranged himself with the defenders of 
the flag of his country, and throughout that long and terrible war 
maintained, at the cost of great personal sacrifice, unswerving devo- 
tion to the Union and the overthrow of the rebel Confederacy by 
his voice, his purse, his votes in Congress, and his large personal 
influence at home. When, however, the war had closed, he favored 
universal amnesty to the conquered, and fraternized with those 
whom he found anxious to secure tranquillity between the late war- 


ring sections and the autonomy of the States. Parcere victis, debel- 
lare superbos. And so, with Charles Sumner, Francis P. Blair, and 
Winter Davis, he united with the Democrats in support of Greeley 
and the liberal movement. In this there was no demagoguery, no 
vacillation, no inconsistency. His one constant aim was to promote 
the welfare and glory of his country ; and the best agencies which 
he believed adapted to that crowning end he was ready to use, no 
matter what obloquy he might endure, whether "men would bear 
or forbear." He had all the best qualities attributed by Lord 
Macaulay to George Savile, Viscount Halifax, whom as a statesman 
he much resembled. To be called a trimmer had no terrors for him. 
He was "just and feared not — all his aims were his country's, God's, 
and truth's." Had he lived in England in this age, he would have 
been enrolled under the banner of Gladstone fighting for home-rule 
in Ireland, the disestablishment of the Church, the elevation of the 
masses of the British Empire, and the promotion of honorable peace 
on the basis of international law and friendly commercial inter- 

The published speeches of Mr. Rollins, delivered in the State 
Legislature, in Congress, before literary bodies, and in social 
gatherings, constitute a large volume full of thought, culture, and 
eloquence, and, more than all, of profound love of country and 
aspirations for the progress of the race. His speeches in Congress, 
advocating negro emancipation and the amendment of the Constitu- 
tion to secure that illustrious work, won the admiration of political 
friends and foes alike — of Crittenden and Blaine, of Cox and Gar- 
field, of Butler and Stevens — and will be read for ages to come. 
His labors for internal improvement in <his own State, for the con- 
struction of the railway across the continent to the Pacific shore, 
the building up of harbors and the better navigation of the lakes 
and rivers of the land, the protection of American industries in 
manufactures and agriculture, were constant and unwearied ; and 
while he met the fate of many other public men in failing to reap 
the just rewards of his labors, there was no office in the gift of the 
people he would not have adorned — a fact recognized too late by 
those who should have known it sooner. It is, indeed, the very 
irony of politics that, in an age when so many men of small caliber 
occupy great executive, judicial, and ministerial stations, such a man 


should have been defeated for the Governorship of Missouri, an 
office he greatly desired, not for himself, but for his countrymen. 

Mr. Rollins was, however, blessed in a remarkable degree with 
the love and sympathy of friends in all quarters of the Republic, 
and by those ties which blend rest with honor. He had buried a 
lovely daughter and a son of great promise, to secure life to whom 
he would have gladly preceded them to the tomb ; but he left sur- 
viving him the beloved and estimable wife of nearly half a century, 
and sons and daughters who occupy the highest places in the 
society where they dwell and on whom will rest the memory of 
his life as a holy benediction. 

Mr. Rollins had a very true appreciation of the beautiful in art 
and nature. His home, La Grange, originally attractive with vener- 
able forest trees, had been made more beautiful by evergreens and 
flowers of his own planting, while the walls of his mansion were 
adorned with books and engravings, with statuary and paintings of 
rare value, chiefly prized among which were creations of the brush 
and pencil of his lifelong friend, George Bingham ; and this home 
thus made beautiful was again made doubly so by the all-pervading 
spirit of hospitality and kindness which characterized its owner. He 
welcomed the coming, sped the going guest. None that came went 
empty away, but the prayers of all followed the place in a long 
retinue. All were glad that the gifts of wealth had been profusely 
showered on one who could properly enjoy and dispense them. 
One beautiful Sabbath afternoon several years ago the writer was 
present when Mr. Rollins was, on a profession of his Christian faith, 
received into the fellowship of the Presbyterian Church. Sur- 
rounded by his family and friends, feeble and reclining on his couch, 
he was baptized by his pastor, Dr. Campbell, and there were few 
dry eyes when this venerable man, near the close of a long, am- 
bitious, and distinguished career, with the penitence and trust of 
a little child, confessed that his only " hope for the future was in the 
mercy of God and the blood of the Redeemer," adding that he was 
"struggling for more light." Let us have faith to believe that the 
hour of twilight was with him followed by a gracious spiritual 
illumination, that glimpses were given to him of those everlasting 
hills on whose crests rests perpetual sunlight, and that there were 
wafted 'to him voices from loved ones who, sustained in their last 



hours by a like faith with his, were now breathing the celestial air 
and drinking the waters of that stream which makes glad the 
dwelling-place of the redeemed. 

In closing this feeble and imperfect portraiture I will only add, 
that while the fame and virtues of Mr. Rollins will be dear to all 
that knew him, by none will they be more prized than by the people 
of his native county, for in the wealth of great names which enriches 
Madison there is not one of higher rank than his. 

" Quicquid ex co amavimns, quicquid mirati sumits, manet et man- 
surum est, in animis hominum in eternitate reruni." 


From the "American Tribune." 

Although he was a native of Kentucky, the social, domestic, and 
political life of Hon. James S. Rollins was passed in Missouri ; at 
least that larger and more brilliant portion of it which commanded 
the admiration and attention of the country, and the affection and 
regard of his fellow-citizens. In one sense his public career was not 
so broadly national as that of Thomas H. Benton, while it was 
hardly less valuable to the highest and best interests of the country; 
but as a typical and representative Missourian he was the most 
progressive and the ablest of the men who have added the lustre of 
greatness, dignity, and character to the history of the State. His 
modesty and unselfishness contrasted so grandly with his eminent 
intellectual powers, and his aspirations to serve the public faithfully 
and upbuild the educational, commercial, and industrial greatness 

* That is, Curtis F. Burnam, a typical ex- 
ample of whatever was most attractive in 
the character of the Southern lawyer and 
gentleman — brave, modest, scholarly, pa- 
triotic, hospitable, and incorruptible. His 
State has had few citizens that would have 
honored her more in the highest offices at 
her disposal, but neither political distinction 
nor judicial ermine has yet had any charm 
to woo him away from his cultured leisure, 
from the eloquent converse of Plato, of 
Horace, and of Shakspere, and of the 
other loftier spirits of ancient no less than 
of modern literature. Once, indeed, the ur- 
gence of personal friendship induced him to 

accept high official position in the Depart- 
ment of the Treasury under the celebrated 
reform administration of Bristow, and more 
recently the almost unanimous suffrage of 
his fellow-citizens, without respect of party, 
has called him against his will to take part 
in the deliberations of the Constitutional 
Convention of Kentucky. 

For more than a generation Mr. Burnam 
was in constant correspondence with Major 
Rollins, and among the many jewels of 
friendship with which great good hap and 
high desert crowned the life of the latter, 
this of his kinsman was one of the purest 
and brightest. 


of the State, that the likeness of his useful and splendid career is 
exceptionally prominent in the public mind and adorns the pages 
of our history. 

Few public men have been so thoroughly unconscious of the 
greatness and magnitude of their services and intellectual strength 
as James S. Rollins. He became conspicuous and powerful in the 
performance of what he regarded as a simple duty, without a 
thought of personal emolument or distinction, and this one feature 
of his fearless and pure character has rendered his name illustrious, 
without consideration of his great public services. But when these 
are made the subject for discussion and consideration, his life-work 
mounts up to the highest eminence of greatness and honor. To 
him official position was only the avenue through which he could 
advance the general welfare, and not the chief object of ambition. 
It was his acts, and not the position, that conferred the greatest 
honor, and therefore his services will outlive the honorable titles 
attaching to his name. 

The recent death of this distinguished citizen is a fitting and 
appropriate occasion to repeat the interesting history of his life. It 
is filled with so much that is generous and great that the youth of 
our land can find in it many examples and lessons of benefit in 
guiding their future conduct. We are all but children in the inves- 
tigation of great questions of political and social economy, and we 
need teachers to direct us in the paths of honor, usefulness, and 
virtue. No others are so happily attractive and interesting as the 
lives of noble men, and therefore the biographer assumes great 
responsibilities in presenting the incidents of a career so that it may 
educate and enlarge the ambitions that stimulate and energize the 
exertions of the coming generations of men. 


Washington, D. C, January 9. 

Captain J AMES H. ROLLINS, Columbia, Mo.: 

Your father's name was so kindly known and his services so 
gratefully remembered that the news of his death must carry 
grief to thousands. As a member of Congress his record is one of 
mingled patriotism and ability ; as a member of the State Legisla- 
ture he must be remembered as the most able and devoted among 
the founders of Missouri's educational institutions. I long knew 
Major Rollins as a citizen, and found him at all times patriotic ; I 
knew him as a political opponent, and found him brave and mag- 
nanimous ; I knew him as a friend, and found him always faithful 
and true. Please be assured that your mother and family have my 
profound sympathy in their bereavement. 

J. B. Henderson. 

House of Representatives, Washington, D. C, January 9, 1888. 

I was unexpectedly shocked to-day to learn of the decease of 
your beloved father, Honorable James S. Rollins. I knew that he 
had been suffering a long time, and his death, perhaps, was a com- 
fort in the larger sense. Never have I met in public life a gentle- 
man of more urbanity or kindly sympathy, more ennobling qualities, 
more sterling virtue, and in every way worthy of the position which 
he held as a representative of the people of Missouri in most critical 
times. I was especially drawn to him by the amenities of his life 
in reference to literary and scientific pursuits and the love which 
he bore the University with which he was so long associated. 

Yours with respect, 

S. S. Cox. 

Mr. James H. Rollins, Columbia, Mo. 

Washington, D. C, January 9, 1888. 

Your telegram of to-day, announcing the death of your honored 
father, has this moment been received. Full of years and honors, 


and after a long life replete with good and patriotic deeds, he has 
gone to his rest. A man of national reputation, of broad and 
exalted ideas, a very Bayard without fear and without reproach, 
a finished gentleman of the old school — what more can be said 
of a man whose character is without stain and whose life is an 

example ? Sincerely and truly yours, 

S. V. Benet. 
Captain J. H. Rollins, Columbia, Mo. 

Washington, D. C, January 9. 

James H. Rollins, Columbia: 

Pray accept my profound sympathy in the loss of your father. 
He was my cherished friend for nearly thirty years, and I share in 
your sorrow. John Sherman. 

New York, January 9. 
Captain James H. Rollins, Columbia: 

Another good man and noble patriot gone where we must soon 
follow. W. T. Sherman. 

New York, January 9. 

James H. Rollins, Columbia: 

Accept my hearty sympathy in your great bereavement. 

Carl Schurz. 

New York, January 10. 

Mrs. James S. Rollins, Columbia: 

Mrs. Lawson, my sons, and myself tender to you our sincere 
condolence upon the death of your husband, our valued friend 
and Missouri's most distinguished citizen. 

L. M. Lawson. 

St. Louis, Mo., January 9, 1888. 

I have j'ust received the melancholy intelligence of the death of 
your distinguished father. Pray convey to the survivors my pro- 
found sympathy with them in the loss which this blow has inflicted 
upon them. 

In the death of Major Rollins the State of Missouri has lost one 
of its most eminent citizens, and the cause of education its stanch- 


est supporter within our State. The State University is the monu- 
ment of his earnest and persistent labors for a higher education of 
the people, and the School of Mines the result of his efforts for the 
development of the material resources of our State. 
Who could wish a better record than he has made ? 
Sincerely yours, etc., 

James C. McGinnis. 
Captain James H. Rollins. 

Laclede Bank, St. Louis, January 9, 1888. 
James H. Rollins, Columbia, Mo. ; 

I have known your father well for near fifty years, and 
had great admiration for his ability, integrity, and patriotism. The 
death of such a citizen at any time is a great public loss, and to his 
family an irreparable calamity. For myself, whose acquaintance 
and mutual friendship has existed for half a century, it is a warning 
that touches my heart, and I trust will not pass unheeded. 
Very respectfully your friend, 

John D. Perry. 

St. Louis, January 9. 

James H. Rollins, Columbia ; 

I beg to extend to the family of your distinguished and illustrious 
father my sincere sympathy. Kindly advise me of the time fixed 
for the obsequies. D. P. DYER. 

Kansas City, Mo., January 9, 1888. 
Captain James H. Rollins : 

I received your telegram announcing the death of your father. 
I greatly deplore his death. In him the State has lost its earliest 
friend and foremost citizen. In him centered all of those qualities 
which make a man truly great — a cultivated brain, a generous 
heart, elevated instincts, elevated actions, and a sympathy that 
made him equally as much the friend of the widow and the father- 
less as of him who dressed in "purple and fine linen." Please 
present my tenderest regards to your devoted mother and to every 
member of his family. He did his duty to his fellow-men, to his 
State, to his Government, to the loved University, and to his God. 

Your friend, 

Thomas T. Crittenden. 


Kansas City, Mo., January 10, 1888. 

I was deeply pained to learn of your noble husband's death, and 
I regret more than I can express that I am so hedged about with 
work that it is impossible to pay him my final tribute of respect to- 
morrow by being present at his funeral. He was my dear father's 
most trusted and faithful friend during all the years of their acquain- 
tance, and both on that account and for his own sake I shall never 
cease to honor and revere his memory. I rejoice in the conviction 
that after twenty years of separation they are now together again 
in the country where there are no more partings. 

The country has lost one of its men of mark, the State one of her 
favorite sons, the University its most devoted champion, the com- 
munity its most eminent citizen. Yours sincerely, 

Gardiner Lathrop. 
Mrs. J. S. Rollins. 

Kansas City, January 10, 1888. 
Captain James H. Rollins : 

Dear Sir: Your telegram announcing the death of your father 
was received yesterday, and although prepared by what I had 
learned of his condition to expect, yet I was shocked by the 

I cannot yet fully realize that his noble, manly form lies cold and 

Words of consolation are but poor offerings to a family from 
whom such a husband and father have been taken. In his reputa- 
tion as a public man, and his unsullied character as a private citizen, 
borne through a long and active life, they have, however, an inex- 
haustible source of consolation and a heritage of infinitely greater 
value than all the other wealth of earth. 

I knew him as intimately as one of my age could know one so 
much my senior, and that acquaintance dates forty years back, and 
I never knew a man more richly gifted with genius, integrity, and 

His death is a loss to the nation, and the State of Missouri has in 
her annals, bright with names of illustrious heroes and statesmen, 
no greater name than that of James S. Rollins. 

Sincerely lamenting with his family and the people of Missouri 
this great bereavement, I am truly yours, 

John W. Henry. 


Macon, Mo., January 9, 1888. 
Captain James H. Rollins, Columbia, Mo. : 

I have just learned with deep regret of the death of your aged 
father, the Honorable James S. Rollins. A great man passed away, 
but his life work was done. A pioneer of our great State, his brain 
and eloquence fashioned much of her most valuable legislation, and 
very largely contributed in developing her splendid resources and 
pushing her progress in the grand march of material and mental im- 
provement. His active life forms an important part of the history 
of Missouri, and the future historian will cheerfully accord him the 
high position which his long and successful labors so richly won. 
The father of the University of the State of Missouri, the leading 
educational centre of our great commonwealth, the thoughtful 
people of the State and generations yet unborn will ever honor his 
name and bless his memory. 

Sincerely your friend, 

John F. Williams. 

Mexico, Missouri, January 11, 1888. 
E. T. Rollins, Esq. : 

Being absent, I did not get your telegram till my return home 
last night. I had, however, heard the sad intelligence of your 
father's death. Whilst his great age made it necessary for him to 
go, still it is a serious and sad occasion to part with one so dear to 
family and friends. I have known him for over fifty years, and during 
this long time we were on the kindest terms. He was sincere and 
ardent in his attachments. He was the most noted and leading 
benefactor of Boone County, and among the most illustrious states- 
men of the State. As an orator he had no superior, and but few 
equals, if any. He had large experience in the service of the State 
and nation, and he applied it to the enactment of the wisest and 
most wholesome laws. His taste and talents were more especially 
devoted to the physical and educational development and progress 
of the State. Years and years of his life were worn in these causes, 
and the grandest success attended his efforts. The people will not 
soon forget his noble and patriotic life. 

I remain, very truly, 

C. H. Hardin. 



THE following selections from the speeches and correspondence of Major 
Rollins have been made for publication, not with respect to their literary 
merit nor on account of the same, but as recording not altogether too imperfectly 
his views and opinions and as outlining not too incompletely the domain of his 
public activity. They may also serve to verify in large measure the estimations 
contained in the Biographical Sketch. But no such selection from literary re- 
mains, even if far more extensive and more justly representative, can adequately 
evidence or even suggest the range or potence of his influence in determining 
the history of the State. For Rollins was above all else an homme d'affaires — 
it was in personal contact with men that his natural gift of leadership asserted 
itself; it was in the mysterious "art Napoleon, of winning, fettering, molding, 
wielding, bending " the hearts of his fellow-citizens, that he was supreme. The 
stern compensation that Nature exacts for such a gift is that the record of its 
achievements fades and quickly grows illegible, so that the frequent ascription of 
them to the wrong person becomes possible and even probable. Especially is 
her claim enforced with rigor in the case of Rollins, who was wont to do much 
through the agency of others, and who wisely brought it to pass that many of his 
own measures should first come to light in the hands of his friends. 

Nevertheless, the sweep and intensity of his activity, as revealed in what fol- 
lows, are quite sufficient to justify every verdict already rendered. 

From ' ' %eply to Mr. Goode, ' ' delivered in joint session of the Senate and 
House of Representatives, Jefferson City, Missouri, February 2, 1855. 

Sir: I would ask this Assembly what are the claims of David R. Atchison 
upon the Whig party of Missouri ? Has he not for twenty-five years 
proved himself the untiring and unrelenting enemy of that party? Is he not 
the right-hand man of an administration that has struck down every Whig 
official in the State ? Has not the most intolerant proscription character- 
ized the conduct of that administration in this State ? and has not its ear 
been open to the counsels of David R. Atchison, and are not its actions the 
fruit of his promptings ? What principles, sir, does the Whig party hold in 
common with David R. Atchison? Did he not sustain the message of Pres- 
ident Pierce, vetoing the River and Harbor bill, in which large appropria- 
tions were made for rivers passing through and bordering upon our State ? 
And is he not sustaining an administration which, by the veto of another 
bill, that for the relief of the indigent insane, lost to the people of Missouri 
a grant of land which would have amounted to near 500,000 acres? — a 
munificent donation, intended by the Congressional majority who passed it 
for the most benevolent and charitable of all purposes : the relief of those 
upon whom the hand of affliction had fallen, whereby the light of reason 
and religion might again shine into the hearts of many who were now an 
incumbrance to their friends and to their country. 

I ask if that administration has not been the steady foe of the interests 
of the West, and more particularly of Missouri ? Has it not lent its whole 
influence to break down the greatest project which will ever be open to the 
ambition of this State? — I mean the Pacific Railroad on the Central Route. 
It has lent itself to the North and to the South to balk this great enterprise. 
And we find Atchison aiding and abetting that administration, sustaining its 
action, and indorsing its opinions. Mr. President, is this a time, when we 
are planting deep great principles of National and State policy, to root them 
up by sending David R. Atchison back to the Senate of the United States? 
16 m 


His advocates identify him with the protection of one, and only one, institu- 
tion. Is there only one institution to be protected ? only one interest to be 
promoted ? Even that institution is safer with Doniphan than with Atchi- 
son. The safety of that institution requires prudent and steady guardian- 
ship, more than of any other. It should not be intrusted to the hands of any 
zealot — of any man of extreme views and excitable temperament. We do 
not want fanatics, North or South, in Congress. Sir, it is manifest that Don- 
iphan, if elected,would represent all the interests of Missouri, and not one only. 
But even on that one, I would ask what are the differences between Doniphan 
and Atchison ? The gentleman from St. Louis has spoken of a party in 
Missouri that designed the abolition of slavery. I know of no such party. 
I know no member of such a party. The three candidates before the joint 
session — Atchison, Benton, and Doniphan — occupy now precisely the same 
ground upon the Kansas-Nebraska bill. Each has declared against the re- 
peal of that law, and in favor of admitting Kansas with or without slavery, 
as the people of that Territory may indicate in their Constitution when they 
come to form a State government. Why then, sir, I ask, are such accusa- 
tions made by the gentleman from St. Louis ? 

Sparger e voces 
In V7ilgus am digitus. 

Yes, sir, the object is to scatter suspicions among the people — to keep 
them in a state of agitation and alarm, in order that reckless demagogues 
may pluck promotion from their terrors and wring that from their fears 
which would never be given by their love. 

Mr. President, I was endeavoring to point out the distinction, wide and 
deep, between David R. Atchison and the Whig party. I dwelt briefly 
on the stern proscription of the Whig officials by that administration which 
is guided by Atchison in its action in Missouri. As an incident illustrating 
the character of that proscription, I shall refer to Thomas Moseley, a high- 
minded, manly, and impetuous gentleman, well known in the State of Mis- 
souri, and esteemed wherever he was known, who held the office of an 
Indian agent; and yet this worthy citizen and high-minded gentleman (the 
father of my friend, the member from New Madrid) was proscribed because 
he was a Whig. His only offense was that of being a Whig who was always 
true to his party and his country. Neither age nor reputation could protect 
him, and he was guillotined to gratify the thirst for Whig blood and the rav- 
enous appetite for spoils which burned in the breast of that party of which 
David R. Atchison is the leader. 

The gentleman from St. Louis has made professions, loud and long, of his 
whiggery. He has threatened to expel from our party ranks men who have 


grown gray in the service. He would enforce a rule which would unwhig 
some of the most distinguished of the Whigs in Missouri, and the most dis- 
tinguished in the nation, living and dead. What are the claims of this gen- 
tleman upon the Whig party? What great services has he rendered? What 
sacrifices has he endured, that he should thus dominate and play the despot? 
Sir, I have heard it charged upon that gentleman that no later than '52 he 
voted, not for General Scott, but for Franklin Pierce. I desire to know the 
fact. Is it true, sir [turning to Mr. Goode] ? 

Mr. Goode — It is true, sir. 

Mr. Rollins — Good God ! what a Whig, to vote for Franklin Pierce, 
the obscure lawyer hailing from the bleak and barren hills of New Hamp- 
shire, in preference to the hero of Chippewa and Lundy's Lane, of Cerro 
Gordo and Churubusco, whose tall plume had waved over a hundred 
other victorious battlefields ! What, I ask again, are the claims of this 
gentleman upon the Whig party of Missouri, or of the nation, that he 
should presume to become its adviser or its censor? Are those men to 
be regarded as Whigs who voted for Pierce in 1852 ? 

The gentleman confesses that he refused to vote for Scott, a pillar of the 
Whig cause and a pillar of the State, and clothed as he was with national 
renown as with a garment ! Ah ! this gives us the key to the gentleman's 
conduct in this House, and determines the quality of his whiggery. Sir, I 
have heard of Free-soil Whigs and Southern Whigs, of Fillmore Whigs and 
Clay Whigs; even of Benton Whigs and anti-Benton Whigs, but this is the first 
time that I ever heard of a Pierce Whig. The gentleman from St. Louis is 
the only Pierce Whig I have ever seen. A Pierce Whig is such a monstrous 
production that it ought to be preserved as the strangest curiosity of politi- 
cal natural history; and if the distinguished Missouri artist — my excellent 
friend Bingham, whose honest heart I prize and whose brilliant genius I 
admire — were to portray the hideous hybrid on his canvas, I would move 
to hang it in this hall opposite the picture of Missouri's Senator, not as an 
incentive to lofty deeds and unwavering fidelity to the party, but as a warn- 
ing to my youthful friends around me, who, like my friend and colleague 
[pointing to Mr. Guitar], are fired by an honorable ambition and gifted with 
intellect and eloquence — to teach them the horror of treason, either to their 
party or their country. There, as in gibbet, would I desire the " counterfeit 
presentment " of the political malefactor to hang, as a monument of con- 
duct not to be imitated but spurned and loathed by the youthful statesmen 
of our party. 


A Letter from the Hon. James S. Rollins. 

Columbia, Missouri, February 2, 1861. 

R. E. DUNN, Esq., Marion County: 

Dear Sir: In your favor of the 21st ult. you are pleased to ask my 
opinions touching the present unhappy condition of the country. 

With you and every other good citizen I deeply deplore the present state 
of things ; and without inquiring especially into the causes which have 
brought on us our difficulties, I hold that it is the duty of every man to lend 
what aid he can in devising a remedy which will restore that peace, pros- 
perity, and good order now so greatly disturbed. 

I say to you without hesitation that I am in favor of preserving the 
Union as it is, and this purpose ought not to be abandoned until every 
remedy is exhausted and there is not a ray of hope left that it may be 

I may overestimate the blessings which the Union has secured to us; 
but when I consider the proud and elevated position which the United 
States holds amongst the nations of the earth, — its unparalleled advance- 
ment in population and wealth, in agriculture, in commerce, in manufac- 
tures, in education, science and art, in territorial expansion, in military 
power — and above all when I contemplate that high degree of civil and re- 
ligious liberty which our people have enjoyed above and beyond that of 
any other people beneath the sun, and under the aegis of the national 
Union, it does seem to me that it would be the extremest act of folly to 
countenance for one moment the idea of abandoning it. 

It is said that all " government is a necessary evil," and if this be so, it 
is not a matter of surprise that in a country so extended as ours, embracing 
such a variety of interests and diversity of institutions, and withal so com- 
plex in form, we should meet at times with questions difficult of solution. 
But as long as we have a common Constitution in which our rights are fairly 
guaranteed, and an enlightened judiciary to expound it, and with the right 
of appealing at all times to a cultivated and patriotic public sentiment, it 
occurs to me that it would be far better to seek for the correction of errors 
and the redress of wrongs through these agencies than to break up this 
government and launch our vessels again on the broad ocean of doubt and 
experiment. We may not be able to secure promptly all that we ask or 
all that we are entitled to, but sooner or later I have confidence that all 
our rightful demands will be responded to with a spirit of justice, fraternity, 
and peace. And if these should fail, we have at last the inherent right of 
every people, when their grievances become so intolerable as no longer to 
be borne, to rise in the majesty of our strength, throw off the oppressor's 


yoke, and establish a government better adapted to our condition and the 
promotion of our peace and happiness. 

I hold, however, that no such causes as yet exist with us to justify the rev- 
olution of which I speak. It is an extreme remedy to meet an extreme 
case, and only to be resorted to when all other efforts have failed to accom- 
plish the desired end. 

But referring more particularly to the causes of complaint which exist in 
the Southern States, I entertain the opinion that Disunion is not a remedy 
for any of the evils complained of. So far from it, and I speak especially in 
regard to our own State, it occurs to me that Disunion will be an aggrava- 
tion of all these difficulties. Will the breaking up of Government insure 
the repeal of the personal-liberty bills of the Northern States? What 
becomes of the fugitive- slave law with a broken Confederacy ? Have we 
any longer any claim whatever on the Northern States to restore back 
to us our fugitive slaves ? Will we not by this act bring to our very 
doors a Canadian frontier of eight hundred miles, inviting the escape of all 
the slaves in the State, and without any power whatever to reclaim them ? 
Will not Disunion bring upon us the necessity of a standing army to protect 
this extended frontier, involving us in a heavy and ruinous taxation, and all 
the dangers of constant collision with the people of Illinois, Iowa, and Kan- 
sas ? In short, is not Disunion to us at once an act to emancipate all the 
slaves of the State and under circumstances to keep up a constant warfare 
between the people of our own and neighboring free States ? Will the rights 
of the South be better secured in the Territories out of the Union than in 
it ? As matters now stand, there is not a Territory belonging to the United 
States to which the slave-owner has not the right to carry his slaves. In the 
Territory north of the line 36 30' this right is claimed under the decision 
of the Supreme Court of the United States. 

By an act of Congress Arizona has been attached to New Mexico; and 
by an act of the Territorial Legislature of New Mexico slavery is estab- 
lished there. And these embrace all the territories of the United States 
save the Indian Territory, west of Arkansas, held by the Indians under 
treaty stipulations with the general Government, and even in this Terri- 
tory I am informed that slavery actually exists. In what respects, then, are 
the rights of the South in the Territories likely to be better guaranteed out 
of the Union than in it ? 

Is it mere apprehension that the present laws will be repealed, and deci- 
sions overturned, and no other sufficient concessions made ? But must not 
every man know and feel that dissolution not only cuts off the South from 
most of the Territories now owned by us, but most probably, even if the 
Southern States desire it, puts an effective check on the extension of slavery 
for all time to come ? And this is the light in which the extreme Abolition- 


ists of the Northern States view the question. Not only so, but they look 
upon Disunion as the death-knell of slavery in the States ! Being no longer 
upheld and protected by the strong arm of the national Government ; with 
the prejudices of the people of the Northern States arrayed against it, with- 
out a single obligation left upon them in any way to sustain it, and, besides 
this, encountering a still sterner opposition than heretofore from all the 
governments of the world, how else than prejudicially can Disunion operate 
upon this institution of the Southern States ? In a speech delivered a few 
days since at Boston, Mr. Wendell Phillips, the most able and perhaps the 
most zealous of all the Northern Abolitionists, rejoicing at the prospect of 
Disunion, said : 

" The Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice." " The Covenant with Death is an- 
nulled ; the Agreement with Hell is broken to pieces." The chain which has 
held the slave system since 1787 is parted. Thirty years ago Northern leaders, 
sixteen years ago Northern Abolitionists announced their purpose to seek the 
dissolution of the American Union. Who deemed that success would come so 
soon ? South Carolina, bankrupt, alone, with thousands more slaves than 
whites, four blacks to three whites within her border, flings her gauntlet at the 
feet of twenty-five millions of people in defense of an idea. I would New Eng- 
land could count one State as fearless among her six. Call it not madness of an 
engineer who places himself in front of his cannon at the moment of discharge ; 
call it rather the forlorn hope of the mariner seizing a plank or spar in the fury 
of the storm. The mistake of South Carolina is, she fancies there is more chance 
of saving slavery outside of the Union than inside. Three States have followed 
her example. Probably the rest of the slave States, or many of them, will find 
themselves unable to resist the infection, and then the whole merciless conspir- 
acy of 1787 is ended, and timid men will dare to hate slavery without trembling 
for bread or life. 

Disunion is Abolition ! That is all the value Disunion has for me. I care 
nothing for forms of Government. No foreign State dare touch us, united or dis- 
united. It matters not to me whether Massachusetts is worth one thousand mil- 
lions, as now, or two thousand, as she might be if she had no Carolina to feed, 
protect, and carry the mail for. The music of Disunion to me is, that at its 
touch the slave breaks into voice, shouting his jubilee. 

Hear also the language of Lloyd Garrison, another noted Abolitionist: 

At last the covenant with death is annulled and the agreement with hell 
broken by the action of South Carolina herself, and ere long by all the slave- 
holding States, for their doom is one. Hail the approaching jubilee, ye millions 
who are wearing the galling chains of slavery, for assuredly the day of your re- 
demption draws nigh, bringing liberty to you and salvation to the whole land. 

Justice and liberty, God and man demand the dissolution of this slaveholding 
Union, and the formation of a Northern confederacy in which slaveholders will 
stand before the laws as felons and be treated as pirates. 


But again, will a dissolution of the Union change in any respect the 
opinions and moral sentiments or alter the conduct of the people of the 
Northern States ? I think not ; and hence I am for standing by the Union 
as our fathers transmitted it to us, and fighting in it, with all the weapons 
of argument, persuasion, and truth, and if need be with all other kinds of 
weapons, for those rights which are fairly guaranteed to us in the common 
bond of Union, the Constitution of the United States. 

I am opposed to sectionalism whether it comes from the North or the 
South. Washington, whilst he advised the children of the Republic to love 
and stick to the Union, at the same time warned them against the danger 
of forming parties upon geographical lines. I quote from his farewell ad- 
dress, a document that ought to be placed now in the hands of every voter 
in the land : 

In contemplating the causes which may disturb our Union, it occurs as a matter 
of serious concern that any ground should have been furnished for characterizing 
parties by geographical discriminations — Northern and Southern, Atlantic and 
Western ; whence designing men may endeavor to excite a belief that there is a 
real difference of local interests and views. One of the expedients of party to 
acquire influence within particular districts is to misrepresent the opinions and 
aims of other districts. You cannot shield yourself too much from the jealousies 
and heart-burnings which spring from these misrepresentations ; they tend to 
render alien to each other those who ought to be bound together by fraternal 

From what I have said you will readily conclude that I am opposed to 
the action of those States which have seceded. I deny that there is any 
such constitutional right as secession ! The framers of that inimitable in- 
strument provided the manner of admitting new States into the Union, but 
they were careful not to provide how any State once admitted could get out 
of it, except by an amendment of the Constitution. And the very object of 
this omission was to give permanency to the Government which they were 
founding. Surely it was never contemplated by them that any State upon 
its own motion, and for the most trivial cause, could have the power to break 
up the Government by withdrawing from it. Certainly it was their design 
to give some sort of efficiency to the national machine. Suppose insurrection 
were to happen, or any of the States be attacked by a foreign foe, can the 
United States Government be absolved from its constitutional duty to sup- 
press the one or repel the other ? And is not the allegiance of every State 
in the Union, to the general Government, just as obligatory as is the duty of 
the general Government to protect and defend the States ? These duties and 
obligations, it occurs to me, are reciprocal, and cannot under the Constitution 
be disregarded by either party. 


The founders of our Government did not deny the doctrine of the right of 
revolution for sufficient cause, for the very Government which they were estab- 
lishing was the result of a revolution which they themselves had started; and 
if those who favor secession would call it by its right name, they would be 
better understood. The question would then be whether there was sufficient 
or justifiable cause for putting on foot this revolution, and, further, whether 
those who are engaged in it will be able to maintain it. And to the nations 
of the world they might appeal for an answer to these questions. 

I repeat, every man who loves his country is most anxious to see peace 
restored, and I have an abiding faith that it will be, and our glorious Union 
made stronger than ever in the hearts and affections of the people. And I 
view with gratitude and admiration the sublime efforts of those noble patriots 
all over the land who are lending their aid in the work of pacification. " How 
beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, 
that publisheth peace ! " Although several States have passed ordinances 
of secession, and others may yet do the same thing, I cannot bring myself 
to believe that they intend to relinquish for ever their respective positions in 
the Union ! They must intend to come back. They surely will not take 
the risk which a final separation will involve. And rather than to allow the 
danger which an appeal to the " ultima ratio regu/u" must initiate, the North 
will yield and guarantee every Constitutional right which the South ought 
to demand. This is my hope — this is my faith. The people are attached 
to the Union; they love it for the great blessings which it secures to them ; 
and they hate Disunion because of the unspeakable horrors, the loss of 
liberty, the destruction of happiness, the constant war, the prostration 
of all trade and commerce, the taxation, the bankruptcy and ruin, and 
the final despotism which it will inevitably entail upon them and their pos- 
terity! The people love the Union because of the glorious memories con- 
nected with it, and though demagogues and madmen may shatter it to pieces 
their hearts will still yearn towards it. 

You may break, you may shatter the vase if you will, 
But the scent of the roses will hang round it still. 

Until every effort to save it is exhausted, how is it possible for an intelli- 
gent people to give up a Government — a Constitution — like ours, standing 
out as it does upon the records of humanity as the noblest monument of 
human wisdom, and next to the miracles wrought by our Saviour when he 
wandered upon earth ? 

Suppose you that the South Carolinians feel no farther interest in the 
names of Lexington, of Concord, and of Bunker Hill ? And that in the heart 
of the Massachusetts man no proud emotions swell at the mention of York- 
town, and Camden, and Eutaw Springs ? Why, sir, in this very Congres- 


sional District whose kind and patriotic voters have honored me as their 
humble Representative, we have in two counties the names of Warren and 
Marion, linked inseparably together, favored sons of Massachusetts and South 
Carolina, the one first to pour out the warm current of his heart in the cause 
of American liberty upon the field of Bunker Hill, and the other sealing 
his devotion to the same sacred cause by fighting through our entire Revolu- 
tionary conflict. 

It has been well, and I have no doubt truthfully, said that there is to-day 
many a man in Charleston and in the piney woods of South Carolina wear- 
ing the blue cockade upon his hat but the Stars and Stripes in his heart. 
The patriotism of the American people is a living thing ; and it is not so 
sectional as to confine itself within the narrow precincts of a single State ; 
it is as broad as the continent, and as deep seated as their love of liberty, 
and as the very faith within them and upon which they stake their hopes 
of immortality. 

In the language of that noble old Kentucky patriot Crittenden, " The 
dissolution of this Union would be the greatest shock which could be given 
to civilization. In it we risk the danger of not only destroying our own 
happiness and liberty, but we crush out the sentiment and take away from 
struggling and almost triumphant humanity in the Old World the only 
example of free government based upon written constitutions and the will 
and affections of the people. Destroy it, and their hopes sink within them; 
they will feel that the sun of liberty has gone down, to shine upon them no 
more forever! Talk not to me about a reconstruction. If we cannot up- 
hold and save the beautiful temple in all its grand and majestic proportions, 
it is not probable that we shall be enabled to gather up its broken frag- 
ments, and replace them again in all their strength and beauty and mag- 

A combination of circumstances — a combination of wonderful men, the 
like of whom the world had never before, and will never probably behold 
again, were united in that great Revolution out of which was born the State 
and Federal Governments which now compose our glorious Union. Let 
us be cautious how we try experiments on this their almost perfect work. 
For one, and as an humble citizen of the Republic, I am not prepared to 
give up the Stars and Stripes, that banner of beauty and glory, the ensign of 
the nation now known and honored throughout the whole earth, and sub- 
stitute instead some miserable local or Pelican Palmetto flag. I rather 
embrace and hold to the significant motto, emblazoned with the "coat of 
arms " of our own proud commonwealth, " United we stand, divided we fall." 

All these questions of party advantage should be lost sight»of ; all ques- 
tions of public policy, State and national, should yield and be held subor- 
dinate to the one grand idea of the restoration of peace, fraternity, union ! 



The time for Missouri to risk her destiny upon the dark sea of revolution 
has not, and God grant that it may never, come. In this whole secession 
movement there has been most marked precipitancy. The men engaged in 
it seemed to shun deliberate action, and were not willing to trust the settle- 
ment of these matters to the people themselves. For just in proportion as 
men of sense contemplate the effect of Disunion just so will they shrink from 
it. We hear much talk about the Northern and Southern Confederacy, but 
no man can conjecture even what will be the state of things which Disunion, 
actually accomplished, will bring about ; for an hundred questions involving 
a conflict of interest and a diversity of views, and leading almost certainly to 
civil war, must be settled before the fact of Disunion will be recognized. 

What about our national debt ; who is to pay it ? 

What about the free navigation of the Mississippi River — our "inland 
sea " ; who is to control it ? 

What about a division of the Territories, the common property of the peo- 
ple of all the States ? 

What about the national capital, and all the public property and archives 
connected with it, belonging now to us all ? Who is to own them ? 

What about the army of the United States ? And our navy, whose canvas 
whitens every sea ? Can these, think you, be amicably divided ? What 
about the Washington monument ? Who 's to complete it, and after comple- 
tion who 's to own it ? 

What about Mount Vernon — the home and resting place of Washington ? 
Are any portion of the American people ready to give up their part of this 
precious inheritance ? 

What about the military defenses of the country, our dockyards, forts, and 
arsenals ? 

What about a railroad to the Pacific ? Is this great work to be 
abandoned ? 

What about the American flag ? Is it to be given up, dishonored, and 
disgraced, its stars obscured and its stripes erased ? 

What about the other thousand charming and delightful associations con- 
nected with our country's brief history, which cluster around every patriotic 
heart, and which will be mainly valuable. to us and to our children as incen- 
tives to nobler efforts in the cause of our country, and of liberty and human- 
ity ? Are the people ready to run all these risks, to suppress all these 
emotions, to sacrifice all that is dear to them on the altar of prejudice and 
of passion, without a full trial, exhausting every argument which reason and 
honor and patriotism may furnish towards the settlement of all surrounding 
difficulties ? I think I may answer for the people of the State of Missouri, 
No ! And whenever the question is put to them, asking when they will 
favor a dissolution of the Union, if they do not respond in the language of 


the great patriot of Ashland, " Never, never, never" they will at least say, not 
until every effort at compromise which the wisest heads and hearts of her 
most patriotic statesmen can devise is finally given up. They will answer 
that for the sake of peace they will yield much ; but if questions come which 
extort the arbitrament of the sword we will fight it out in that Union which 
our fathers gave us — this priceless jewel we will never willingly give up, and, 
if sink we must, we shall be proud to go down with a cause which embraces 
all the hopes of progress, of civilization, and human liberty. 

At the same time I speak so warmly for the Union and its preservation 
allow me to say, now that the " fight is up," the people should be content 
with nothing less than such a settlement of all pending questions of difficulty 
between the North and the South as will hush forever this eternal sectional 
strife and sectional wrangling. For if this be not done it will be but a short 
time before we shall hear again of secession, revolution, disunion ! The Crit- 
tenden proposition — the Border State Compromise — the plan proposed in 
the report of the Committee of Thirty-three — any of these will do as a basis 
of settlement; and if all these are likely to fail, let us urge the course sug- 
gested by the Legislature of " Old Kentucky," the birthplace of many of us, 
to call a Convention of all the States and endeavor to have the Federal 
Constitution satisfactorily amended, and in the mode provided for in the in- 
strument itself. But let us not in Missouri stake our all upon any ultimatum 
of our own before first consulting with other States similarly situated. 

I have great hope of the action of the Convention suggested by Virginia, 
and which assembles on the 4th inst. Above all let the border States stick 
together until all hope of adjustment has failed ; for their interests are iden- 
tical, or nearly so, and they must share a common destiny. 

In the meantime the States which have passed ordinances of secession will 
have time for serious reflection, and they will have experienced, too, in some 
small degree, some of the evils of separation, and I have every hope that they 
will return and embrace any compromise that may be agreed upon by the 
border slave States. The occasion calls for deliberation — it is not a season 
for fiery invective and denunciation ; let us pursue the one and avoid the 

I hear the question frequently asked, Are you in favor of coercion ? I 
answer promptly that I am not at present, for the very attempt at coercion 
destroys at once all hope of a peaceful settlement of the questions. I would 
oppose the sending of armed men into any of the seceding States now for 
the purpose of forcing them back into the Union, or of compelling subjec- 
tion. And whilst I do not favor coercion on the part of the general Gov- 
ernment now, I am just as far from favoring the coercion of the general 
Government by South Carolina ! We all know that too much of this thing 
has been practised already by that State, and if persisted in it may become 


in self-defense the duty of the general Government to protect its property, 
its soldiery, and its flag without regard to consequences. I am, neverthe- 
less, in favor of the " Union, the Constitution, and the enforcement of the 
laws." I have been too recent and too earnest an advocate of this excellent 
platform to abandon now either of its planks. I stand upon them all; and 
whilst compromise fair and honorable, preservation and not " ruin first and 
reconstruction afterwards "should be the watchwords, as they were with the 
fathers of the Republic in framing the Government, and have been time and 
again since, and whilst in times like these when there is such a conflict of 
passion and of interest and opinion, it is the duty of patriotic men to yield their 
opinions on questions of mere public policy, and their abstract ideas of right 
for the good of our common country — there are some matters in my view 
which no man can yield, the integrity of the Government itself , its existence, its 
permanency. These are questions that can only be yielded at the close of peace- 
ful separation or a successful revolution ! Until one of these things occurs 
the Constitution must be obeyed, and the laws passed in pursuance of it must 
be enforced North and South, not at the point of the bayonet, or with the 
sword, but by those civil processes to which we are all accustomed in the 
execution of those laws to which we all appeal to enforce our rights and 
remedy our wrongs. To act upon any other theory would be at once de- 
structive of all government, and turn us over to the wild fury of a lawless 
mob. Anarchy would usurp the throne where the law should reign, and 
there would be no security for life, liberty, or property save in the strongest 

If civil officers cannot be found to execute the laws as they are, in some 
of the States, then the laws must remain, of necessity, a " dead letter " until 
repealed, or until reason assumes its wonted sway over the public mind. 

But with you I pray for a return of peace, for the restoration of kind 
feeling, for the salvation of the Union ; and when the storm which now 
rages with so much fury shall have passed by, I trust we may all gaze upon 
a brighter sun and clearer sky, and that we shall see the " old ship " with 
her priceless cargo and her happy crew gliding over a smooth and tranquil 
sea — with every sail unfurled, and floating from her mast-head that same 
bright and beautiful banner, inscribed with the motto as it kisses each pass- 
ing breeze: The United States of America : One Union — One Constitution 
— One Destiny / Most faithfully your friend, 

Jas. S. Rollins. 

One Union — One Constitution — One Destiny. Speech on the Rebellion 
delivered in the House of Representatives, April 24, 1862. 

Mr. Chairman : I feel deeply indebted to the gentleman from Vermont 
(Mr. Morrill) for his generous courtesy in submitting the motion to go into 
Committee of the Whole at this time, in order to enable me to speak upon 
the subject of our present national troubles. I propose to make an old- 
fashioned, patriotic speech, and, whilst not intended as an answer, it will 
follow appropriately, I trust, the very remarkable and vindictive speech to 
which we have been compelled to-day to listen from the gentleman from 
Illinois (Mr. Lovejoy). In the brief hour allowed to me by the rules of the 
House I shall not attempt, to any extent, the discussion of those great con- 
stitutional questions which have grown out of the present rebellion. I 
shall content myself by stating frankly the impressions made upon my own 
mind, and the opinions formed by the changed circumstances which sur- 
round us, and with such appropriate allusion to the causes of our great 
troubles, and the remedy for them, as the occasion seems to suggest. 

Perhaps in all history no more melancholy spectacle was ever presented 
to the gaze of men than that which we have looked upon in this country 
during the last twelve months. A great nation hitherto blessed beyond 
any other people of ancient or modern times, with a Constitution and form 
of government at once the wonder and admiration of mankind, without a 
public debt and almost free from taxation, enjoying a degree of civil and 
religious liberty never attained by any other nation, having the benefits 
of moral and intellectual culture diffused among all the masses of the 
people, great in all the elements of national power, in the supposed in- 
telligence, virtue, and patriotism of the people, in commerce, in manufac- 
tures, in agriculture, in art, literature, and science, and bidding fair to rival 
the proudest nation of all the earth, our armies invincible at home, our 
navies riding upon every sea — such, Mr. Chairman, is a fair presentation of 
the condition of our country one short year ago. But how changed the 
scene ! In the place of peace, prosperity, and happiness we find ourselves 
engaged in civil strife ; the hostile tread of armed men is heard on every 
side ; the nation is convulsed from center to circumference with great and 
warlike preparations ; the clash of arms is heard throughout the land, and 
blood is made to flow on a hundred battle-fields, and our national exis- 
tence is threatened with overthrow. It is a fearful question : Who and what 



have caused this sudden and unexpected change ? Where were our wise 
men and prudent legislators, that whatever causes of discontent existed 
might not have been removed ? Upon the administration of James 
Buchanan and the Thirty-sixth Congress rests the fearful responsibility of 
permitting the present fearful state of things to exist; and in all time to 
come the closing days of his administration, and the action of that Con- 
gress will be regarded as the darkest period in American history. 

Mr. Chairman, I belong to that class of men who believe that it is far 
better to settle all questions of national difficulty by an appeal to reason 
and to the ballot-box rather than by the arbitrament of arms; and I am 
sincere in the reflection that, considering the boasted civilization of the 
American people, the present civil war must be regarded in all time to come 
as a scandal and disgrace to the age in which we live ; and the authors of it, 
when the passions of the present hour shall have subsided, in the judgment 
of posterity will be considered as the evil spirits of this generation, and the 
worst foes to free institutions and the cause of well regulated liberty among 

This rebellion is one of the legitimate fruits of the excesses to which 
party spirit has been carried in this country, and of the continued and fierce 
agitation of the question of African slavery ; the loss of political power fur- 
nishing a motive to ambitious men to put it on foot, and the slavery ques- 
tion being the moving power by which they hoped to excite and enlist the 
sympathies and the services of the great body of the Southern people. The 
national Government having fallen into the hands of a weak and vacillating 
President, his Cabinet composed in part of the conspirators themselves, — 
bold, reckless, and unscrupulous, using their ill-gotten power to encourage 
the purposes of disloyalty and precipitate national disaster, whilst the people 
were shocked and amazed and yet incredulous as to the wicked objects 
which these men had in view, — the rebellion at the outset met with a degree 
of success and encouragement, causing thousands of good men to doubt the 
ability of the Government to check its progress and to overthrow those who 
had taken up arms against it. Never did a free people enter more reluc- 
tantly into an unwilling contest than did the loyal people of the United 
States with the disunionists of the South, who " forced this war upon the 
country." It was not until State after State had broken its plighted faith 
and violated all the obligations of the Federal Constitution in passing ordi- 
nances of secession, not until the Federal Treasury had been robbed, our 
arsenals and armories despoiled of their arms, our ships sent to distant seas, 
armies raised to resist the authority of the general Government, peaceful 
vessels fired into, and a weak and beleaguered garrison compelled to sur- 
render that the national Government took the first step to exert its author- 
ity and to maintain the supremacy of the laws and the Federal Constitu- 


tion. Never in the history of the world was so much forbearance displayed 
by a great government towards those in rebellion against it, and who were 
plotting its overthrow. 

The purpose from the beginning was to break up the Government. For 
more than a quarter of a century a great party, founded upon the most 
pernicious theories, and denying the most obvious and direct teachings of 
the Federal Constitution, as found in the letter as well as in the spirit of 
that instrument and its contemporaneous exposition by the authorized de- 
partments of the Government, as well as by the great minds of the nation 
most competent to expound it, have been seeking pretexts to divide and 
dismember the Confederacy. Checked in their purposes of disloyalty by 
that man of iron will, Andrew Jackson, in 1832, and relieved from the dan- 
gerous predicament in which they found themselves placed at that time by 
the generous and liberal statesmanship of Henry Clay, they have lost no op- 
portunity since to sow the seed of discord and encourage and foment a 
spirit of disloyalty and opposition to the authority of the Federal Govern- 
ment. Starting out originally in their crusade upon the tariff question, they 
readily relinquished it for one of a more excitable character, and in regard 
to which the " Southern heart could be more easily fired." Receiving all 
the aid which they desired from another class of men, little less dangerous 
and no better than themselves, and equally intent upon mischief, — men who 
act upon the motto of "no union with slaveholders" and who have inscribed 
upon their banner that the Constitution of the United States is a " covenant 
with death and an agreement with hell " ; who have done all in their power 
to obstruct and to prevent the execution of the Federal laws in the Northern 
States; who have inspired a spirit of hatred among their own people 
against the South and Southern institutions; who prefer to see the Union 
broken if slavery be not abolished, — it is not to be wondered at that the 
leaders of this rebellion, representing the opinions of these " fanatical men " 
as the voice of the Northern people, and urging upon them the false idea 
that it was the purpose to interfere with and destroy one of their institutions 
in the Southern States without regard to the guarantees thrown around it in 
the Federal Constitution, have thus far succeeded in enlisting beneath their 
banner so many well-meaning but deluded followers. Instead of seeking 
redress by the mode pointed out in the Constitution itself for any griev- 
ances of which they had a right to complain, by asking an amendment of 
that instrument, they seized upon the election of Abraham Lincoln as Pres- 
ident, although fair and according to all the forms of law, by a majority of 
the freemen of the nation, to carry into effect their absurd and unpatriotic 
purposes. Even before he was inaugurated, before any step had been 
taken by him calculated to produce alarm or to indicate that he intended in 
any way to interfere with the legal and constitutional rights of Southern men, 


and in the face of the resolution constituting a part of the platform of the 
party that elected him, this rebellion is set on foot, and before the 4th day 
of March, 1861, seven out of fifteen Southern States have passed ordinances 
of secession, and erected another government within the boundaries of the 

Mr. Chairman, I denounce this as a most causeless and reckless rebellion. 
I have regarded it as such from the beginning, and as involving a greater 
degree of error and evil than any other attempted revolution in the world's 
history. I do not pretend to deny that there were causes of irritation and 
discontent ; that a large portion of the Northern people had acted in bad 
faith in not accepting and carrying out in good faith the true spirit and 
purposes of the Federal Constitution in regard to the rendition of fugitive 
slaves. But these things furnished no justification to these ambitious men 
for starting a rebellion like this. And especially was it a most wicked and 
unjustifiable step on the part of South Carolina and the other extreme 
Southern States by which she was encouraged, all of whose citizens had not 
suffered as much in any disturbance of their rights of property as the citi- 
zens of one single county of the district that I have the honor to represent 
on this floor. 

Mr. Chairman, I have said that these grievances ought to have been 
settled ; our bleeding country feels the truth of this remark to-day. In a 
spirit of fraternity and union, and under the same noble and elevated senti- 
ments of patriotism that guided and controlled the fathers of the Republic 
in the formation of the Federal Constitution, they would have been settled. 
Surely, sir, there is not a man holding a seat here, or in the nation, and who 
is governed by the noble instincts of patriotism and humanity, who would 
not to-day have preferred the adoption of the compromise offered by my 
venerable friend who sits before me [Mr. Crittenden], or that offered by the 
gentleman from Illinois [Mr. Kellogg], or, indeed, either of the compro- 
mises offered in the Thirty-sixth Congress, to the present lamentable state 
of things by which we find ourselves surrounded. I hear men frequently 
denounce all compromise ; but, sir, what is government itself but a com- 
promise of conflicting opinions ? How would our own matchless form of 
government ever have been instituted except by conciliation and compro- 
mise? How would the little State of Rhode Island, so ably and so honor- 
ably represented here, exert the same influence at the other end of the cap- 
itol in the legislation of the country as the great State of New York, except 
for the spirit of compromise and concession which controlled and guided 
the framers of the Federal Constitution ? If such men as George Washing- 
ton and John Hancock, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, could meet in 
council together in devising and framing a system of government for them- 
selves and their posterity, in comparing and yielding their preconceived in- 


dividual sentiments in order to form a Constitution adapted to the wants 
and necessities and varied and discordant interests and dissimilar institu- 
tions of the then thirteen colonies, there is no reason why the men of this 
generation, who have profited so much by the labors and sacrifices of these 
great and good men, should not follow their example, and, in a spirit of 
peace and conciliation, make to each other such concessions as are de- 
manded by the growth, the practical necessities, and the more enlarged and 
varied interests of the entire country. In all this there would have been 
no sacrifice either of truth or principle. And but for this yielding of precon- 
ceived notions we might not, and should not, have been blessed with the 
noble form of government under which we live, and which has been and can 
be preserved in all future time only by listening to the admonitions and fol- 
lowing the wise example of those who framed it. We have heard much 
about clinging to an idea. The gentleman from Maine [Mr. Fessenden] 
tells us that he honors the men of " an idea to which they cling with the 
tenacity of death ! " Sir, the men of the American Revolution were pre- 
eminently men of ideas; but they thought that it was not best to cling with 
such tenacity to a " single idea " as to endanger the great purpose which 
they had in view — the founding on this continent of a Government dedi- 
cated to the principles of civil and religious liberty. 

If the doctrine of which we now hear so much, " no Union with slave- 
holders," no Union without emancipation, had been proclaimed and ad- 
hered to in the convention that framed the Constitution, we all know that 
the government under which we live would never have been established. 
An attempt on the part of the general Government to enforce the same 
thing now will be equally fatal to the cause of the Union. It is the prov- 
ince of wisdom to deal with things as we find them. There is no practical 
statesmanship in clinging to " an idea," and thereby endangering the very 
existence of the Government. Men who cling with such tenacity to " an 
idea " may mean well, but they cannot be safe counsellors in times like 
these, when all that we hold dear is so deeply imperiled. Such men are 
well described in the following extract which I recently met with in an 
interesting book, and which I cordially commend to the gentleman from 
Maine, and also to the gentleman from Illinois [Mr. Lovejoy], and to those 
who act with them : 

Among the objects of interest very often, if not always, to be found at the foot 
of dams and cataracts, are what are called "pot-holes." They are round holes 
worn in the solid rock by a single stone kept in motion by the water. Some of them 
are very large and others are small. When the stream becomes dry there they 
are, smooth as if turned out by machinery, and the hard round pebbles at the 
bottom by which the curious work was done. Every year, as the dry season 
comes along, we find that the holes have grown larger and the pebbles smaller, 


and that no freshet has been found powerful enough to dislodge the pebbles and 
release the rock from its attrition. 

Now, if a man will turn from the contemplation of one of these " pot-holes," 
and the means by which it is made, and seek for that result and that process in 
the world of mind which most resemble them, I am sure that he will find them 
in a man of one " idea." In truth, these scenes that I have been painting were 
all recalled to me by looking upon one of these men, studying his character, and 
watching the effect of the " single idea " by which he was actuated. " There," 
said I involuntarily, " is a moral pot-hole with a pebble in it, and the hole grows 
larger and the pebble smaller every year." 

I suppose it is useless to undertake to reform men of " one idea." The real 
trouble is that the pebble is in them, and whole freshets of truth are poured upon 
them only with the effect to make it more lively in its grinding, and more certain 
in its process of wearing out itself and them. The little man who, when ordered 
by his physician to take a quart of medicine, informed him with a deprecatory 
whimper that he did not hold but a pint, illustrates the capacity of many of 
those who are subjects of a " single idea." They do not hold but one, and it 
would be useless to prescribe a larger number. In a country like ours, in which 
everything is new and everybody is free, there are multitudes of self-constituted 
doctors, each of whom has a nostrum for curing all physical and moral disorders 
and diseases — a patent process by which humanity may achieve its proudest pro- 
gress and its everlasting happiness. The country is full of hobby-riders, booted 
and spurred, who imagine they are leading a grand race to a golden goal, for- 
getful of the truth that their steeds are tethered to a single idea, around which 
they are revolving only to tread down the grass and wind themselves up, where 
they may stand at last amid the world's ridicule and be stoned to death. 

Mr. Chairman, I have been taught to believe that the true theory of our 
Government is that " the Federal Constitution and the laws passed in pur- 
suance thereof" are the " supreme law of the land." Any other view 
would produce an endless conflict, and it is the opposite doctrine of those 
who attempt to exalt the States above the general Government, and the 
pressing of this doctrine to an extreme length, that have been largely instru- 
mental in bringing about the present disastrous state of things. Our first 
and paramount allegiance is due to the general Government. In his great 
speech on the compromise measures of 1850 Henry Clay used the follow- 
ing language : 

If any one State, or any one portion of the people of any State, choose to place 
themselves in array against the Government of the Union, I am for trying the 
strength of this Government. I am for ascertaining whether we have a Govern- 
ment or not, practicable, efficient, capable of maintaining its authority and up- 
holding the powers and interests which belong to a Government. Nor, sir, am 
I to be alarmed or dissuaded from any such course by intimations of the spilling 
of blood. If blood is to be spilt, by whose fault is it to be spilt ? Upon the sup- 
position I maintained, it will be the fault of those who choose to raise the stand- 


ard of Disunion and endeavor to prostrate the Government. And, sir, when 
that is done, so long as it pleases God to give me a voice to express my senti- 
ments, or an arm, weak and enfeebled as it may be by age, that voice and that 
arm will be on the side of my country, for the support of the general authority, 

and for the maintenance of the powers of the Union 

If Kentucky to-morrow unfurls the banner of resistance, I never will fight 
under that banner; I owe a paramount allegiance to the whole Union — a sub- 
ordinate one to my own State. — Henry Clay, in the Senate, 1850. 

I stand upon this doctrine to-day. It expresses the true theory of our 
Government. And when Missouri, or any other State, shall raise the stand- 
ard of rebellion, I shall feel that my primary allegiance is due to the general 
Government. And if in a conflict of this kind the nation is involved in 
war, as it now is, and blood be shed, let the responsibility rest where it prop- 
erly belongs, on those who have commenced the contest in striking the first 
blow and firing the first gun. And if disaster and ruin shall follow the in- 
terests and institutions of those who have thus involved the nation in an 
unfortunate and bloody contest to maintain its own existence, I have con- 
fidence in the courage and integrity of the masses to believe they will, 
in due season, visit upon the heads of the authors of those troubles that 
punishment they so justly merit. Acquiescence in the election of Mr. Lin- 
coln, which was the patriotic duty of every citizen of the Republic, would 
have saved us all the fearful struggle and all the sacrifices which we have 
been compelled, individually and as a nation, to make. If he had erred in 
his administrative duties the party in power, on appeal to the intelligence 
and patriotism of the people, would only have had a brief existence of four 

That no great harm could have befallen any particular interest is known 
by the fact that every other department of the Government stood politically 
opposed to him, and with a majority in each House of Congress. But the 
" fiat " had gone forth. Demagogues and " fire-eaters " had partially pre- 
pared the public mind, and they were ready to enter upon their bloody ex- 
periment. And what was the Government to do ? Must it yield to the 
demand of these maddened leaders ? Must the nation's life be sacrificed, 
and without an effort to preserve it ? Shall our nationality be destroyed, 
and the Government of the United States struck from the map of the 
nations of the earth ? Shall we be placed in the condition of a second-rate 
power ? Shall we give up the prestige and glory of our great name ? 
Shall we be unmindful of the hallowed memories of the past, and our great 
obligations to the future ? 

Sir, men might as well have looked for the great luminary of day to be 
struck from the heavens without a convulsion in the material world, or the 


cross of our Saviour to be darkened and obscured without a pang to the 
heart of Christianity, as to have seen this great nation, now known and hon- 
ored throughout all the earth, to die without a struggle more terrible than 
any which the world has witnessed since the " morning stars sang together." 
There was but one course for the President of the United States to pursue 
— to meet the obligations of his oath, " to take care that the laws were 
faithfully executed," and to the best of his ability "preserve, protect, and 
defend the Constitution of the United States " ; and in the discharge of these 
high and imperative duties he was entitled to the sympathy and support of 
every loyal and patriotic citizen of the Republic. No partisan zeal, no past 
or present difference of opinion on mere political topics, no hostility to sup- 
posed extreme theories held by the party in power, no sickly or morbid 
sympathy with those who were aiming a fatal stab at the nation's heart 
ought to have prevented us from coming to the rescue and saving the life 
of the Republic. 

Sir, it is idle to say that in meeting this great crisis the President has vio- 
lated the Constitution of his country. It may be that in some instances 
doubtful powers may have been exercised and the Constitution not strictly 
observed. But who caused these things ? And with what bad grace does 
an objection of this kind come from the lips of those who, disregarding all 
the precepts of our beloved Washington as contained in his farewell ad- 
dress, and the teachings of the great and good men of all parties throughout 
the history of the Republic, with sacrilegious hands have torn in shreds the 
very charter of our liberties ! — who put in peril the existence of the nation, 
and by their act threatened to turn back the tide of civilization and of 
moral and intellectual progress upon the continent ? How can these men 
who have attempted to tear up the tree of liberty, root and branch, com- 
plain of those who, in order to preserve it, have only plucked a twig here 
and there from its ample boughs? Sir, the choice was either to surrender 
unconditionally to rebellion and thus permit the nation to die, or to resist it 
with all the power that the Constitution had lodged in the hands of the 
President in order to " defend, preserve, and protect it " ! And, sir, what- 
ever may be the judgment of the present hour, the gratitude of the nation 
and of mankind will be due to those who may save the Republic from over- 

Lovers of peace, looking with dread and horror upon the fratricidal con- 
flict which now pierces their hearts with agony, were willing to let the 
seceded States go in the vain hope that this might have prevented the 
shedding of blood, and under the influence of the " sober second thought" 
they might have returned. Vain delusion! There could be no such thing 
as peaceable secession. Listen to that man of great renown, the favorite 
son of New England, but whose fame has added to his country's glory: 


Peaceable secession ! Peaceable secession ! Sir, your eyes and mine are not 
destined to see that miracle ! The dismemberment of this vast country without 
convulsion ! The breaking up of the great fountains of the deep without rippling 
the surface ! 

More than twenty-three hundred years ago, in one of the Republics of the 
Old World, the impolicy of secession was clearly shown. That distinguished 
Athenian general, statesman, and orator, Pericles, in one of his speeches 
touching the revolt of Euboea and Megara, two Grecian provinces, used the 
following remarkable language, so singularly applicable to the present con- 
dition of things in our country : " No great government can be respected if 
fragment after fragment may be detached from it with impunity; if traitors 
are permitted to delude and discompose the co?itented and to seduce the ignorant 
from their allegiance ; if loyalty is a weakness, sedition a duty, conspiracy wis- 
dom, and rebellion heroism / " 

The very idea of division brings to mind at once a thousand causes that 
would lead to strife and war. One great inducement with those who formed 
the American Union was to prevent forever those intestine feuds and ever 
present dangers which would spring up between independent States. Ques- 
tions of boundary, of revenues, of large standing armies, of commerce on 
the sea and on the land, of the free navigation of our great rivers — these 
and all other questions which from the beginning of time have been the 
foundation of national disputes and endless wars among the nations of the 
earth would have existed in full force here. It is far better, if fight we 
must, to preserve the grandeur and glory of the nation than by separation 
to lay the foundation of perpetual strife with our posterity throughout all 
coming time. 

Never, Mr. Chairman, in the history of the nation was there a time when 
we so much needed prudent and wise counsellors as at the present hour. 
While our armies are advancing with success, and victory is shouted from 
every battle-field, a single false step taken here may convert all into " Dead 
Sea fruit." Discarding all Utopian dogmas, let us look steadily and only to 
the maintenance of the authority of the general Government and the pre- 
servation of the Federal Union. 

Let all the ends thou aimest at be thy country's. 

Let not the people be deceived and deluded in regard to the objects of 
this war. Let us stand firmly by the resolution passed with such great 
unanimity at the extra session in July last, 

That this war is not waged on our part in any spirit of oppression, nor for any 
purpose of conquest or subjugation, nor purpose of overthrowing or interfering 
with the rights and established institutions of those States, but to defend and 


maintain the supremacy of the Constitution and to preserve the Union with all 
the dignity, equality, and rights of the several States unimpaired, and that as 
soon as these objects are accomplished the war ought to cease. 

In most of what I have seen coming from the pen of the President of the 
United States since his inauguration — in his messages to Congress, in his 
instructions to our ministers abroad, and in the general influence and ten- 
dency of his administration as so eloquently and ably shown by the gentle- 
man from Indiana [Mr. Voorhees] a few days since — I am cheered with the 
belief that he fully sanctions all that is contained in the foregoing resolu- 
tion. In regard to the resolution which passed this House a few days since, 
and which accompanied the special message of the President, while I 
thought its introduction ill-timed, there were, nevertheless, great principles 
recognized in it which I cheerfully indorse : 

i. That Congress has no constitutional power to interfere with the insti- 
tution of slavery in any State where it exists. 

2. That to the States themselves belongs the exclusive control of the insti- 
tution of slavery within their respective borders. 

3. That if at any time the people of any State should choose to adopt a 
system of gradual emancipation, the general Government ought to extend 
pecuniary aid to compensate the owners of slaves for any losses which they 
might sustain growing out of the change of system. 

I repeat that the principle of this resolution is right; the time of its intro- 
duction was unfortunate, and especially the indecent haste in which it was 
hurried through without giving the Representatives from those States most 
deeply interested an opportunity even of consulting upon the subject. For 
one, I do not doubt the patriotic intentions of the President in sending here 
this message and resolution. I believe that his object was to check the 
progress of radical measures. The people watch with great anxiety the 
course of the Administration ; and in order that the purposes of the Presi- 
dent may be distinctly known, I shall take the liberty of re-quoting here 
some passages from his messages and also from instructions given by him 
to our ministers abroad. 

In his inaugural address the President used the following language: 

Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the Southern States that by 
the accession of a Republican administration their property and their peace and 
personal security are to be endangered. There has never been any reasonable 
cause for such apprehension. Indeed, the most ample evidence to the* contrary 
has all the while existed and been open to their inspection. It is found in 
nearly all the published speeches of him who now addresses you. I do but quote 
from one of those speeches when I declare that " I have no purpose, directly or 
indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists." 
I believe I have no lawful right to do so; and I have no inclination to do so. 


And, more than this, they placed in the platform for my acceptance, and as a 
law to themselves and me, the clear and emphatic resolution which I now read : 

Resolved, That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the States, and espe- 
cially the right of each State to order and control its own domestic institutions 
according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of power 
on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depend ; and we 
denounce the lawless invasion by armed force of the soil of any State or Territory, 
no matter under what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes. 

I now reiterate these sentiments; and in doing so I only press upon the public 
attention the most conclusive evidence of which the case is susceptible, that the 
property, peace, and security of no section are to be in anywise endangered by 
the now incoming Administration. 

I add, too, that all the protection which consistently with the Constitution and 
the laws can be given will be cheerfully given to all the States when lawfully de- 
manded for whatever cause, as cheerfully to one section as to another. 

I hold that in the contemplation of universal law and of the Constitution the 
Union of these States is perpetual. 

It follows from these views that no State upon its own mere motion can lawfully 
get out of the Union ; that resolves and ordinances to that effect are legally void ; 
and that acts of violence within any State or States against the authority of the 
United States are insurrectionary or revolutionary, according to circumstances. 

I therefore consider that in view of the Constitution and the laws the Union is 

In the message the President laid before Congress at the special session 
in July last he referred back to these just and pointed declarations, and 
applied them expressly to the condition of the rebel States after the rebellion 
should be suppressed. With most wise and fortunate anticipation he then 

Lest there be some uneasiness in the minds of candid men as to what is to be 
the course of the Government towards the Southern States after the rebellion 
shall have been suppressed, the Executive deems it proper to say it will be his 
purpose then, as ever, to be guided by the Constitution and the laws ; and that 
he will probably have no different understanding of the powers and duties of the 
Federal Government relatively to the rights of the States and the people under 
the Constitution than that expressed in the inaugural address. 

This is full and explicit. It is unmistakable. It leaves no room for doubt. 
In strict conformity to this view, Mr. Seward, in his letter of instructions 
in April last to Mr. Dayton, our minister at Paris, said : 

I need not further elaborate the proposition that the revolution is without a 
cause ; it has not even a pretext. 


It is just as clear that it is without an object. Moral and physical causes have 
determined inflexibly the character of each one of the Territories over which the 
dispute has risen, and both parties after the election harmoniously agreed on all 
the Federal laws required for their organization. The Territories will remain 
in all respects the same whether the revolution shall succeed or shall fail. The 
condition of slavery in the several States will remain just the same whether it suc- 
ceed or fail. There is not even a pretext for the complaint that the disaffected 
States are to be conquered by the United States if the revolution fail ; for the rights 
of the States and the condition of every human being in them will remain subject 
to exactly the same laws and forms of administration whether the revolution shall 
succeed or fail. In the one case the States would be federally connected with the 
new confederacy; in the other they would, as now, be members of the United 
States ; but their constitutions and laws, customs, habits, and institutions in either 
case will remain the same. 

It is hardly necessary to add to this incontestable statement the further fact 
that the new President, as well as the citizens through whose suffrages he has 
come into the administration, has always repudiated all designs whatever and 
whenever imputed to him and them of disturbing the system of slavery as it is 
existing under the Constitution and laws. The case, however, would not be fully 
presented if I were to omit to say that any such effort on his part would be un- 
constitutional ; and all his actions in that direction would be prevented by the 
judicial authority even though they were assented to by Congress and the people. 

Of the same tenor are Mr. Seward's instructions on this point to our 
minister at London in the same month of the same year. I make the fol- 
lowing pregnant extracts from this elaborate paper : 

The movement, therefore, in the opinion of the President, tends directly to 
anarchy in the seceding States, as similar movements in similar circumstances 
have already resulted in Spanish America, and especially in Mexico. He be- 
lieves, nevertheless, that the citizens of those States as well as the citizens of the 
other States are too intelligent, considerate, and wise to follow the leaders to that 
disastrous end. For these reasons he would not be disposed to reject a cardinal 
dogma of theirs, namely, that the Federal Government could not reduce the 
seceding States to obedience by conquest, even although he were disposed to 
question that proposition. But in fact the President willingly accepts it as true. 
Only an imperial or despotic government could subjugate thoroughly disaffected 
and insurrectionary members of the State. This federal republican system of 
ours is, of all forms of government, the very one which is most unfitted for such 
a labor. Happily, however, this is only an imaginary defect. The system has 
within itself adequate, peaceful, conservative, and recuperative forces. 

You will indulge in no expressions of harshness or disrespect, or even impa- 
tience concerning the seceded States, their agents, or their people ; but you will 
on the contrary all the while remember that those States are now as they always 
heretofore have been, and notwithstanding their temporary self-delusion they 


must always continue to be, equal and honored members of this Federal Union, 
and that their citizens throughout all political misunderstandings and alienations 
still are, and always must be, our kindred and countrymen. 

These views are sound, and must be indorsed by every just-thinking man. 
Surrounded as he is by the greatest difficulties, and with responsibilities rest- 
ing upon him that no other President ever had, it is right for me to express 
the conviction that from all I have seen of him and heard from him, Abraham 
Lincoln is governed by a sincere and patriotic desire to save the Constitu- 
tion as it is, and to prevent the overthrow of the Government. To him the 
people look, and in their behalf I make the appeal, not only to him, but to 
that large, controlling, and conservative element in the Republican party 
which elected him, to stand by their country and to prevent those excesses 
in legislation which must not only tend to prolong the war and enlarge the 
proportions of this already overgrown rebellion, but to lay the foundation 
eternal and enduring of the most relentless and bitter hatred betwixt the 
two sections of the country. 

Acting upon the theory that the Federal Union remains unbroken, that all 
ordinances passed for this purpose are unconstitutional, and therefore null 
and void, that the authority of the Government is only for the time being 
suspended in those States that have seceded, and that all laws passed by 
Congress will, in the end, be observed and executed in those States, we at 
once perceive that, with the accumulated debt of the rebellion in the Southern 
States superadded to their full proportion of the taxes which must be levied 
to pay the expenses of the war and to sustain the public credit, their burdens 
for years to come must be very oppressive, far more so than those of the 
people of the loyal States. 

How far and in what form either the principles of justice or of necessity 
shall require these people to be subjected to still further exactions become 
questions of the gravest importance, requiring the forecast and sound judg- 
ment of the most experienced statesmanship. Shall they be required, in com- 
mon parlance, to " foot the bill," and to pay all the expenses occasioned by 
this wicked revolt ? Will you pass laws confiscating the property of all those 
who have taken up arms against the Government and who have in any way 
given " aid and comfort " to the rebellion ? Will you pass acts emancipa- 
ting the slaves in the Southern States ? Will you even go so far as to pass 
laws emancipating the slaves of those who have been actively engaged in the 
rebellion ? Will you blot out State lines, as has been proposed in the other 
end of the Capitol, and convert the whole Southern country into territorial 
dependencies to be controlled and governed by officers appointed by the 
general Government ? 

Mr. Chairman, upon the answer to these solemn questions hangs yet the 
destiny of the nation. If it be affirmative, then the Government is lost, and 



the sun ofliberty will go down upon this continent in a sea of blood! Per- 
haps, sir, I owe as little to secession as any other member on this floor. The 
sanctity of my hearthstone has been violated and my rights trampled under 
foot by these lawless men. But rising above all questions of personal feeling 
and party animosity, and looking alone to the safety of my country and the 
welfare of the whole people, I am at present opposed to any and all of these 
extreme measures. They cannot be adopted without doing the greatest in- 
justice to thousands of faithful Union men to be found in every Southern 
State, and who, with grateful hearts, will gladly welcome the old flag, 
that bright " banner of beauty and of glory," and dedicate their lives to its 
defense whenever they may dare to do so. Our first and highest duty is to 
suppress the rebellion, and whatever legislation may be necessary within our 
constitutional power to do this, let it be had. 

Further than this it is needless, nay, it is dangerous, to go now. Let us 
await the " tide of events," take counsel of our respective constituencies, 
ponder upon the " sober second thought," and in the future, with that experi- 
ence which the changed circumstances of the country will bring to us, we 
shall be the better able to devise a system of laws that will do injustice to 
no one, tend to reunite the people of the whole Union, soften the asperities 
of the present hour, and bring about once more that kind and fraternal feel- 
ing the loss of which is so much to be deplored by every Christian heart. 
To the extent that the laws of the country have been violated, let the guilty 
leaders be punished; they must not escape; but extend to the masses who have 
been deluded and misled pardon and amnesty upon the condition that they 
will return to their loyalty and " sin no more," remembering always that the 
law inflicts its punishment upon the guilty citizen not so much to reform the 
offender as to prevent a repetition of the crime. Let it not be said, Mr. 
Chairman, that the policy which I indicate is too gentle in times of disaster 
and revolution like these. We must look to the effect which any system of 
laws that we may enact will have upon the country. 

My motto is, " Save the nation at any cost "; but believing as I do that the 
Constitution affords us the amplest power to do this, I am utterly opposed 
to its violation. Let it not be said, either, that I am governed by any pur- 
pose to shield and protect any interest which comes in contact with the 
safety of the Republic and the integrity of the Union. In regard to African 
slavery, I value far higher the permanency of the Government and the pres- 
ervation of the Constitution — for these are essential to our own liberties 
— than I do any question connected with the freedom or slavery of this 
inferior race of men. I desire to preserve the Government as it is, and to do 
this I am for using all necessary powers granted in the Constitution, execu- 
tive, legislative, and judicial. But, sir, I do not wish to see the public mind 
agitated and the nation's life still further endangered not only by the pressure 


upon us of unconstitutional, but of idle humanitarian theories and abstract 
opinions. And least of all, if the nation must die, let there not be written 
upon its tomb the epitaph, " Here lies a great people, who, in their efforts 
to give freedom to the African slave on this continent, lost their own 
liberties ! " 

Mr. Chairman, I can hardly presume that we shall ever have again in this 
country, or at least for many years to come, the same pleasant and agreeable 
condition of things which existed before the commencement of this wicked 
rebellion. This war, however, cannot last always. It must terminate and, 
I sincerely trust, before a great while. It is a question of the greatest mag- 
nitude, and especially in those States where the rebellion exists, how matters 
are to be adjusted so as to produce the least possible sacrifice of the business 
interests of the country and the least alienation among the great masses of the 
people. Unless this be our object, a state of peace may be made more terrible 
even than a state of war. In a short time we hope under the lead of her dis- 
tinguished son that Tennessee, thrust out of the Union temporarily against 
the wishes of a large majority of her people, will return to assume her vacant 
seats in this hall. And how are her representatives to be met upon their 
entrance into this body ? Will it be as men coming from a coequal State 
with all its " rights and dignity unimpaired " ? Shall we meet them at the 
threshold with manifestations of joy ? Shall the " fatted calf be killed " ? 
Or are they to be told that they have returned too late ; that Tennessee is no 
longer a State of the American Union; that we have, under the "war power," 
blotted out its existence and converted it into a territorial dependency ? Shall 
we attempt to console them with the idea that we had sent to them as their 
Governor some man of that extreme political school who originated the idea 
of destroying their State sovereignty and blotting out State lines, and that 
their offices of honor and of profit were to be filled by the same class of men ? 
Shall we tell them, furthermore, that in order to preserve among them the 
most agreeable and harmonious state of society we had passed laws con- 
fiscating the property of one-half of their inhabitants ? Shall we say to them, 
still further, that, acting upon the theory of the gentleman from Kansas [Mr. 
Conway], " that by the act of secession they had dissolved the Union," we 
had treated them as " belligerents " under the law of nations and, availing 
ourselves of these changed relations, we had broken up one of their estab- 
lished institutions by emancipating all their slaves, amounting to two hundred 
and eighty thousand in number ? That in this, however, we had acted a 
very generous part toward them ; that we do not intend to remove this ser- 
vile race from among them ; that they will still remain their neighbors and 
friends, and that when they get them thoroughly educated and Christianized 
they will make most agreeable members of society ! And that in order 
most effectually to prevent them from leaving the territory the Northern States 


had commenced passing laws and inserting into their respective State con- 
stitutions such amendments as these : 

Art. XIII. — Sec. i. No negro or mulatto shall come into or settle in this 
State after the adoption of this Constitution. 

Sec. 2. All contracts made with any negro or mulatto coming into the State 
contrary to the provision of the foregoing section shall be void; and any person 
who shall employ such negro or mulatto, or otherwise encourage him to remain 
in the State, shall be fined in any sum not less than ten dollars nor more than 
$500. — Constitution of Indiana. 

In the Constitution adopted by the convention lately held in Illinois we 
find the following provision : 

ART. XVIII. — Sec. i. No negro or mulatto shall migrate to or settle in this 
State after the adoption of this Constitution. 

SEC. 2. No negro or mulatto shall have the right of suffrage or hold any office 
in this State. 

SEC. 3. The General Assembly shall pass all laws necessary to carry into effect 
the provision of this article. 

Is this your plan of reconstruction ? Is this the way you expect to save 
the Constitution and the Union ? Is this the way you expect to win, and, 
in the language of my good friend, Mr. Crittenden, " woo back" the people 
of the Southern States ? What ! break up their State organizations, destroy 
forever their domestic tranquillity, beggar them and their children, and yet 
expect them to return to their allegiance and become again peaceful and 
patriotic citizens ? Sir, I ask, is not this the ne plus ultra of human folly ? 
I beseech you to abandon these unwise and impracticable measures. You 
have made by law the capital of the nation free. Be content. Let there 
be no further Congressional agitation of the question of slavery. Leave this 
question for all future time to the people of the States where it exists, and 
to be disposed of by them as they may deem best for the welfare of all con- 
cerned. Sir, I listened with infinite satisfaction to the able argument of 
the learned gentleman from Massachusetts [Mr. Thomas] a few days since 
against these extreme measures. I cordially indorse almost his entire 
speech. With such Republicans as himself, and with my friends from Indi- 
ana [Mr. Dunn] and from New York [Mr. Diven], and many others that I 
could name, my constituents could live, aye, and all the reasonable people 
of the South could live, upon terms of the most enduring friendship. Let 
the wisdom of such men guide and control the action of the dominant party 
here and all will yet be well. 

Mr. Chairman, we were treated a short time ago by the gentleman from 
Pennsylvania [Mr. Davis], to a disquisition upon the dignity of labor. Sir, 
this is a noble theme, and if he had confined himself to the subject without 
going out of his way to make an onslaught upon the loyal people of the 


Southern States, there was much that he said to meet my hearty indorse- 
ment. Sir, I honor and respect the laboring man ; to him is our country 
in a large degree indebted for its rapid advancement in physical, moral, and 
mental improvement ; and there is no better specimen of manhood to be 
found, and no higher and more admirable illustration of the beneficent in- 
fluence of our free institutions, than the man who by his own labor rises 
from the humbler to the higher walks of life ; and I care not in what 
department or in what direction these beneficial results of labor may be 
directed. And allow me to say, sir, that these liberal sentiments are largely 
entertained by the people in that section of the country where I live. The 
gentleman from Pennsylvania, while leveling his malice at the border slave 
States, seemed to think that the only motive which prompted them to 
adhere to the Union was in order that their institution of slavery might be 
made more secure ! 

Sir, I am ready to confess that I believe slavery to be more secure in the 
Union than it would be out of it, and especially so if we are to have such 
men as the gentleman from Pennsylvania for our neighbors. But how un- 
kind, oh ! how uncharitable, to attribute a motive like this to the brave and 
loyal men who have risked their all in endeavoring to put down this rebel- 
lion. Is not their love of country as sincere, their motives of action as 
pure and honorable, as those that guide and control the citizens of other 
States ? Such attacks at this time are out of place here. They reach back 
to the foundation of the Government. They are aimed equally at the 
memories of many of those who aided in its establishment; Washington 
and Jefferson, Madison, Clay, and Jackson were not only Southern men, 
but they were all slave-owners; while if you will trace the history of sla- 
very on this continent you will find that the people of the Northern States 
were as largely instrumental, and profited as much, in the establishment of 
African slavery here as did the Southern people. Whatever guilt attaches 
to it in a moral or political point of view must be forever shared equally 
by the North and the South. Sir, the great men of the South need no de- 
fense at my hands. There is not a page in your country's history that is 
not illuminated and adorned by their wisdom, their patriotism, and their 
valor. From the time that the first blow was struck in the cause of Ameri- 
can independence until the breaking out of this "accursed rebellion," there 
is scarcely a battlefield whose sands were not moistened by the blood 
of patriotic Southern men. To them the world is largely indebted for the 
establishment of free government on this continent. And the cause of 
humanity and liberty in the distant regions of the earth has had no truer 
and warmer advocates in this Capitol than Southern men, whose eloquent 

words came 

So softly that, like flakes of feathered snow, 
They melted as they fell. 


No, sir, the Union men of the border slave States, estimating at their true 
value all the blessings conferred upon them by the Union, regarding the 
Federal Constitution and the Government established under it as the best 
ever instituted among men, following the teachings of the Father of his 
Country, and desiring to hand down to their children these priceless gifts, 
have risked and are now risking all that is dear to them for its preservation, 
and but for their action this day the Government would inevitably have 
been destroyed. And these croakings come with bad grace, especially from 
those whose action has contributed so much to the present unfortunate state 
of things, and who, setting aside the Constitution as their guide and rule of 
action, are pressing upon us daily the most absurd propositions, the success 
of which must at once destroy the last vestige of hope for the reconstruction 
and salvation of the Government. 

(Here the hammer of the Chairman fell, the hour having expired.) 

Mr. Dunn of Indiana : Mr. Chairman, I move that the gentleman from 
Missouri be allowed to proceed with his remarks, and that his time be ex- 

The Chairman : If there be no objection, the gentleman from Missouri 
will continue his remarks. 

There being no objection, Mr. Rollins said : 

I will detain the committee but a short time longer. Mr. Chairman, it 
has been charged here that Kentucky desires to dictate the policy of the 
nation. Sir, I love and honor the people of that noble and proud old com- 
monwealth. It is the land of my birth. Beneath her sacred soil rest the 
ashes of the immortal Clay. It is the home of Crittenden, and I trust I shall 
ever be as sensitive in regard to her reputation as are the brave and true 
men around me, who so faithfully represent her interests here. Where are 
the evidences of the truth of this charge ? Sir, they do not exist. Ken- 
tucky does not wish to dictate the policy of the nation further than to keep 
the nation right. At the commencement of this rebellion Kentucky did all 
in her power to preserve the peace and prevent this fratricidal war. In the 
councils of the nation and before the assemblies of the people she pleaded 
with all the earnest enthusiasm of a warm-hearted patriotism ; she offered 
to the nation, through her illustrious son, terms of conciliation and com- 
promise which ought to have been accepted. But her voice was unheeded. 
Neither section would listen to her timely and generous appeals. Strife 
and bitterness seemed to have filled the hearts of men on every side. 

Yet Kentucky did not falter ; seeing the danger of their own position, and 
knowing that their fair fields would be the inevitable theatre upon which 
the heavy clash of arms would first be felt, and realizing the natural sym- 
pathies of their own people with the Southern States, and the misrepresen- 
tations by which bold leaders and crafty traitors expected to mislead the 


honest masses, the loyal men of Kentucky had a most difficult and critical 
duty to discharge. With what fidelity and good judgment she met the 
crisis let the history of passing events tell. No crimes or blunders were 
committed by her true sons. Rejecting all false theories springing out of 
the secession movement, forgetting the sympathies which were appealed to 
in order to enlist her in the Southern cause, rising to a true national posi- 
tion and planting herself upon the bulwarks of the Federal Constitution, 
she threw off her neutrality, unsheathed her sword, and by the side of the 
gallant men who flocked to her rescue from Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and 
other loyal States she bade defiance to traitors and proclaimed, in the 
language of the immortal Jackson, " The Federal Union, it must be pre- 
served." Upon the crimson fields of Wildcat, of Somerset, of Fort Henry, 
of Fort Donelson, and Pittsburg Landing she illustrated anew her deep 
devotion to the cause of constitutional liberty. 

No, sir, Kentucky has not attempted nor desired to dictate the policy 
of the nation in this terrible crisis. She has done her whole duty under the 
most trying and difficult circumstances that ever surrounded a brave and 
chivalrous people; with true and filial devotion she has bared her bosom 
and received the blow which was intended for the heart of the nation ; 
poised upon her own great centers of truth and loyalty she has resisted 
every appeal made to her by recreant sons, and stood as a wall of fire to 
check the encroachments of those whose purpose was to destroy the nation. 
What I have said of Kentucky is equally true of the other border slave 
States — Maryland, Western Virginia, Delaware, and Missouri. They 
regard American nationality as the precious casket in which is contained 
the priceless gift of free institutions, and they would regard themselves as 
alike recreant to their generation, to posterity, and to struggling humanity 
throughout the world if they failed to do their part towards preserving and 
transmitting unimpaired to future generations this sacred and invaluable 

Sir, whatever others may have done, or may yet do, to uphold and main- 
tain the Government and the Constitution, the loyal men of the border 
slave States, as long as time shall last and free institutions be prized 
among men, will be remembered and honored for their heroic courage and 
devoted patriotism. Like poor old Lear, they have withstood the " pelt- 
ings of the pitiless storm" that raged around them; have checked and 
rolled back the mad waves of passion and prejudice which were sweeping 
with desolating fury over the land and threatening to engulf all that was 
most precious on this continent. For the sake of their country and its free 
institutions they have sacrificed their material interests, broken the tenderest 
ties of family and of social life, and determined either to perish or to save 
from dismemberment and ruin the Union and the Constitution, threatened 
by the fierce assaults of ambitious leaders and their deluded and misguided 


followers. And, sir, as long as a love of liberty and of free government 
shall find a lodgment in the hearts of men, the names of Johnson, of 
Etheridge, of Prentice, of Guthrie, of Davis, of Gamble, of Bates, of Phelps, 
and, though last, yet first, of my venerable friend who sits before me [Mr. 
Crittenden] will be associated with the founders of republican government 
on this continent. 

Mr. Chairman, I fear the end is not yet. My mind alternating betwixt 
hope and fear, I put my faith upon the patriotism and good sense of the 
great majority of the American people, and the kindness of that good 
Providence that has thus far watched over and guided our country through 
all the dangers which have beset us : 

A thousand years scarce serve to form a State, 

An hour may lay it in the dust ; and when 

Can man its shattered splendor renovate, 

Recall its virtues back, and vanquish time and fate ? 

What we most need in the present hour is calm and prudent counsel in 
our legislative halls. I am sincere in the belief that the Government is in 
more danger from the indiscreet action of impracticable politicians and mis- 
guided theorists than from any failure of our arms. What we want is a 
great Union Conservative party, made up from all other parties, within whose 
folds may be gathered the good men of the nation, North and South, planted 
firmly on the Constitution, and determined to resist and to repel the aggres- 
sions of extremists, and by a liberal and beneficent policy win back the 
wandering children of the republic to their duty and their loyalty. 

Sir, if my poor voice could reach our distant brethren in the South, I 
would ask each and every one of them, What has the South gained by seces- 
sion ? What has any one individual in the South gained by secession ? 
Has it given, is it likely to give them, a better form of government ? Is their 
property more secure ? Has it brought peace and happiness to their fire- 
sides, prosperity to their business ? Have they profited in any respect by 
this movement ? On the contrary, have not the ambitious leaders who put 
on foot this rebellion, contrary to the wishes and better judgment of the 
masses, brought bankruptcy, ruin, and desolation upon the entire South ? 
There never was, so far as I know, a single solitary meeting of the people 
asking a change of government. The movement did not originate with the 
people themselves. They are patriotic. It originated with Davis and his 
crew in this Capitol. And oh ! 

Is there not some chosen curse, 
Some hidden thunder in the stores of Heaven, 
Red with uncommon wrath, to blast the man 
Who owes his greatness to his country's ruin ? 


The masses were happy and contented, satisfied with their government 
as it was. Living under the protection and benign influence of a free con- 
stitution and wholesome laws, they asked for no change, they wanted none, 
and they are now sighing for the old order of things. This monstrous crime 
of involving the country in rebellion and war lies at the door of uneasy and 
discontented politicians, reckless and maddened leaders, and was gotten up 
to promote their own reckless and selfish ends. A day of terrible retribu- 
tion awaits them. Like Actaeon in heathen mythology, they will, in the 
end, be destroyed by their own friends. The loyal citizens of the South, 
deceived and betrayed, will in due season turn upon them and punish them 
for their iniquities ; while the great and beneficent Government, the glory 
and admiration of every loyal American heart, planted amidst all the perils 
and dangers of our revolutionary conflict, will exert its authority through- 
out the length and breadth of the nation, and our hearts will be once more 
cheered and animated at the sight of the " old flag," baptized, as it will have 
been, in fire and blood, planted securely upon every mountain-top and in 
every valley from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast. 

Mr. Chairman, the effect of this revolution will be to settle, and forever, 
certain dangerous theories springing out of our form of government and 
threatening constantly a collision between the State and National authorities. 

Sweet are the uses of adversity, 

Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous, 

Wears yet a precious jewel in its head. 

The nation has been convulsed to its center ; thousands of true and brave 
men have been sacrificed in' the contest; we have created a national debt 
that will be a heavy burden to the present and to several generations which 
will come after us ; but all these are as nothing compared with the value of 
the life of the nation. The people will not murmur if the Constitution is 
preserved and our matchless form of government not seriously impaired. 
They will feel assured that no such revolution will be attempted again for 
"light and transient causes." They will feel their faith greatly strengthened 
in republican institutions. 

The experiment will have been thoroughly tested as to the ability of the 
people to govern themselves. And 

When wild war's deadly blast is o'er 

and the angel of peace shall once more spread his bright wings across the 
continent, starting afresh in the race of nations, and purified by the severe 
ordeal through which we have been compelled to pass, we shall be a wiser, 
a better, and a stronger people ; and when men shall have returned to the 
peaceful pursuits of private life, and society shall have assumed again the 


steady forms of law and order, the energies of the masses will be unchained 
in new fields of enterprise that will lure them on to reinstate their fortunes ; 
and despite the terrors and calamities of the frightful and unnatural revolu- 
tion through which we are now passing, our great nation, with the strength 
of a young giant, will at one bound assume its lost position and go forward 
in the march of improvement in a manner that will eclipse even our former 
unparalleled success ; and before the close of the present century, in all the 
elements of power and of national strength, and in our contributions to science 
and literature, to art, to arms, to commerce, to manufactures, to agriculture, 
we shall assume a position second to that of no other civilized nation in the 

Mr. Chairman, in casting our eyes across the beautiful valley westward we 
behold a vast but unfinished monument intended by his affectionate country- 
men to perpetuate a lively recollection of the virtues and character of Wash- 
ington. Each State of the American Union has contributed a part of the 
material of which this beautiful shaft is built. From one a block of limestone, 
from another a block of marble, from another a block of granite, from another 
a block of quartz sprinkled with gold. The motto of the great State that 
I have the honor, in part, to represent in this hall is, " United we stand ; 
divided we fall" and in her contribution to the Washington monument she 
has sent here a block of solid iron carved from her own great mountain, typ- 
ical of her vast mineral resources and of her strength and power when these 
resources are fully developed, and indicating further that as iron is more 
durable than marble or granite so Missouri will be ?nore steadfast in main- 
taining the Union of these States and in preserving the Constitution and 
Government which Washington gave to us. 

To the Electors of the Ninth Congressional District of the State of 


Fellow- Citizens : Having by force of public considerations consented to 
be a candidate for reelection to Congress, it is due to you that I should make 
a frank avowal of the principles which will guide my action in our national 
councils if you desire me to serve you in this crisis of our national existence. 
Unable to make a thorough personal canvass, as it would be my pleasure to 
do, of every portion of the district before the day of the election, I make no 
apology for addressing you through the medium of the press, in the con- 
fidence that what I say in candor will be candidly received. 

We have fallen, fellow-citizens, upon evil times. Two short years ago we 
were a prosperous people, in the enjoyment of social order, under the gentle 
rule and the protection of the law, cultivating the arts of peace, and in the 
secure enjoyment of all the results of a high and steadily progressive civili- 
zation. And why, fellow-citizens, are we not to-day in the enjoyment of all 
this with the addition which the two intervening years would have contrib- 
uted to the grand total of national and State well-being ? There is but one 
answer to be given. The constitutional appeal to the ballot has been violently 
pushed aside by an appeal to the bullet. The resort to law has given place 
to the resort to arms, and civil war is desolating our land. A rebellion cause- 
less in its inception and stupendous in its proportions is raising its parricidal 
hands against the Government of our fathers, is madly shaking to its founda- 
tions the fabric of our national greatness, and dashing the confidence of the 
world in the prevalence and perpetuity of free institutions among men. 

It is not unknown to you, fellow-citizens, that I have steadily opposed the 
theory of secession during the whole of my political life ; and I have seen 
nothing in its practical exhibitions during the last two years in our unhappy 
country to abate my abhorrence of it. In doctrine it is false; in effect it is 
" evil, and only evil, and that continually." I have accordingly met the rebel- 
lion with my solemn protest, in public and in private; and if my feeble voice 
had been heard and heeded in our State councils the distant din of the battle 
might indeed have fallen painfully upon our ears, but its desolations would 
not have entered the borders of Missouri. 

And why should not Missouri have thrown her entire weight into the bal- 
ance against this unnatural rebellion ? Could she, a great State in the center 
of the great Republic, sure to have the benefits and glories of the country 
poured into her lap, rationally seek through dismemberment to hem the border 
of a feeble Confederacy founded on the doctrine of secession and to endure 


only till the next political fit should rend it into fragments and consign it to 
merited ignominy ? What, for example, would be the fate of the great com- 
mercial emporium of our State, contributing now so largely to our wealth at 
home and our consideration abroad, when shorn of her markets by the am- 
putation of our great rivers and the dismemberment of the great valley which 
she feeds, and by which she is fed ? There is in truth no substantial interest 
in our State which would not be dwarfed in its dimensions and disparaged 
in its significance by the dismemberment of the Republic. It is passing 
strange that a man can be found in Missouri to advocate a policy so suicidal 
in its necessary and manifest results. 

But aside from these considerations of interest, is nothing due to the en- 
nobling sentiments of patriotism, of fidelity, of gratitude ? I appeal to all 
these exalted sentiments when I assert that never was constituted authority 
over men administered more benignly than has been that of the Government 
of the United States over the State of Missouri. With more than parental 
care she protected your infancy from the exposures and the dangers of fron- 
tier life till the gristle of youth might harden into the bone of manhood. She 
admitted you into the family of States with all the rights and privileges of 
the original members. She generously extended your borders by adding the 
Platte country to your already wide domain. She has laid the foundation 
and furnished the means to establish and build up a splendid system of 
common schools, a brimming reservoir of living waters where every son and 
daughter of the State may drink in copious drafts of knowledge " without 
money and without price." She has richly endowed your higher institutions 
of learning, affording a generous culture to the ripened intellect of the State. 
She has aided in building up your benevolent policies and fostering your 
charitable establishments demanded by our Christian civilization for the ben- 
efit of the unfortunate of our race. She has laid her powerful hand on your 
great rivers, and commerce in mightier volumes courses in safety dirough 
these natural arteries of trade. She has founded your magnificent system 
of public works by princely grants of the national domain, without which the 
whistle of the locomotive would hardly have been heard in our State. She 
has granted millions of acres of swamp lands for general beneficent uses, in 
development of our physical resources or in further aid of our public estab- 
lishments of education and benevolence. Even in the midst of this unnatural 
warfare waged against our national life, overlooking the disloyalty which has 
distempered so many of our citizens, she has just granted 400,000 acres of 
land lying beyond the borders of the State to endow agricultural colleges for 
the benefit of this your great industrial interest from generation to generation. 
In addition to all these acts of beneficent administration towards you and 
your children she, at the last Congressional session, gave you a crowning 
demonstration of her firm resolve never to give up Missouri, in that she has 


adopted the central track for interoceanic communication traversing your 
State from its eastern to its western border, uniting you forever to her bosom 
by bands of iron. Thus the Pacific Railroad, — the enterprise of the age in 
which we live, — the great prize so long an object of interest and contest with 
many States, is destined to pour a continued stream of wealth into your lap, 
making the commerce of our own country and of the world tributary to the 
greatness of Missouri. It is not irrelevant to the purpose of this address for 
me to say that the bill for the construction of the Pacific Railroad was intro- 
duced by myself and, with some modifications proposed in committee,in most 
of which I concurred, was passed after a severe struggle over all opposition. 
How keenly should we disrelish the diminution or withdrawal of the mail 
service of the country, bringing to the door of every citizen, daily, news of 
the sayings and doings of men throughout the habitable globe, subserving 
the interests of friendship, of business, of science, of civilization ; coming to 
us like those blessings of heaven, for which we cease to be grateful for the 
largeness of the bounty ? How few of us reflect that this mail service is done 
for the State of Missouri by the Government of the United States at a cost 
to the national treasury of $500,000 per annum over and above the receipts 
of postage ? What cheek does not mantle with shame to use and enjoy this 
daily bounty of the Government with a disloyal heart ? 

While this stream of beneficence has been poured upon us from the ever- 
willing and heretofore overflowing treasury of the country, no direct tax has 
ever been paid to the Federal Government by any citizen of the State ; we 
have been fully represented, amply protected, and have shared in the good 
name which our Government has won for us abroad as one of the foremost 
powers of all the earth. 

Nor is this all. No man can point to a law on the statute book of the 
general Government calculated to oppress our citizens, to endanger any of 
our interests. On the contrary, all its legislation has tended to elevate our 
people, to develop our resources, to strengthen and invigorate our growth. 

Such, fellow-citizens, are some of the beneficent fruits which have been 
secured to us by our connections with the general Government as one of the 
States of the American Union. And is there a man in Missouri who asks 
me to raise my arm to destroy this Government and to break up this Union? 
For one I cannot, I will not, lend any aid to such a strange work as this. 
On the contrary, holding as I do the duties of protection and allegiance to 
be reciprocal, I am bound by every obligation of honor and of duty as a 
citizen to vindicate its authority and maintain its supremacy, and, if need 
be, to spend the last dollar and shed the last drop of blood in securing these 

The authority of the Government must be maintained, the integrity of 
the country vindicated, and the Union preserved against all assailants. The 


war was brought upon the country by those in rebellion. Rebellion is war. 
Every ordinance of secession was a declaration of war, denouncing a 
forcible dislodgment of the authority of the Government. Every seizure of 
a fortification, every capture of a Government vessel, every occupation of a 
custom-house, every robbery of an arsenal, every plunder of a mint, every 
confiscation of loyal property was an act of war. The attack on Sumter was 
but the last feather that broke the endurance of the country, and it demon- 
strated the necessity of meeting the issue of force thus unequivocally ten- 
dered. In this issue the insurgents are the war party. The party of peace 
is the Government and those who sustain it, seeking by arms (the only 
means left to it) the restoration of the peaceful reign of law. The spear is 
entwined by the olive branch, and I see hope for the termination of this 
war when those who commenced it shall lay down their arms, return to their 
allegiance, and do their duty under the Constitution. On these terms, 
worthy of all acceptation, peace may be restored in a day. Those who con- 
tinue the rebellion continue the war, and on them must rest the responsibil- 
ity before God and man. 

At the special session of Congress in July, 1861, the following resolution 
introduced by the venerable and patriotic Crittenden of Kentucky was voted 
for by every member of the House of Representatives present except Potter 
of Wisconsin and Burnet of Kentucky, the former an abolitionist and the 
latter a secessionist now a member of the rebel Congress. The resolution 
is as follows : 

That this war is not waged on our part in any spirit of oppression, nor for any 
purpose of conquest or subjugation, nor purpose of overthrowing or interfering 
with the rights and established institutions of those States, but to defend and 
maintain the supremacy of the Constitution and to preserve the Union with all 
the dignity, equality, and rights of the several States unimpaired, and that as soon 
as these objects are accomplished the war ought to cease. 

I voted for this resolution. I approved of it then ; I approve of it now. 
It was in harmony with the tone of all the messages which had been sent to 
Congress by the President of the United States up to that time, and was 
approved by him. Afterwards and during the last session of Congress I 
voted for all those measures which were calculated to suppress the insur- 
rection, increase the energies and strengthen the arm of the Government. 
If reelected, I shall continue to do so — firmly convinced as I am that 
there is no hope for the success of free government on this continent if the 
experiment we are now making fails. The paramount object is to save this 
Government and the Constitution of the United States. For these grand and 
beneficent objects, and for these alone, ought this war to be prosecuted ; 
and as these objects justify the assumption of arms, whatever stands in the 
way of reaching these objects ought to give place — for without govern- 


ment and nationality all else would be worthless to ourselves and our pos- 

In a speech delivered by me in Congress, on the 24th day of April last, 
which was extensively circulated, I used the following language : 

My motto is, " Save the nation at any cost"; but believing as I do that the 
Constitution affords us the amplest power to do this, I am utterly opposed to its 
violation. Let it not be said, either, that I am governed by any purpose to 
shield and protect any interest which comes in contact with the safety of the Re- 
public and the integrity of the Union. In regard to African slavery, I value far 
higher the permanency of the Government and the preservation of the Constitu- 
tion — for these are essential to our own liberties — than I do any question con- 
nected with the freedom or slavery of this inferior race of men. 

These are my opinions to-day ; and it lies in my way to examine in their 
light the recent proclamation of the President of the United States looking 
to the emancipation of slaves in certain revolted districts to be hereafter 
specified, on the contingency of their persevering in the rebellion. The 
proclamation proceeds upon the principle that to suppress the insurrection 
by withdrawing that which feeds it is strictly within the war power, and 
therefore constitutional. Without discussing the abstract proposition, I 
apprehend that the conduct of a statesman should be controlled by the prac- 
tical elements which are involved in questions of public policy. I cannot 
agree with Mr. Lincoln in the expediency or necessity of so extreme a 
measure as this. Neither do I believe that it will be justified by the re- 
sults. I do not think it will strengthen the Government. It is calculated 
to create distrust and division in the ranks of the great Union army. 
It is sure to intensify the feeling of opposition in the revolted States. 
If carried out it will do injustice to the great body of Union men in that 
quarter who are ready to rise and strike a blow for the Government when 
the day of their deliverance shall come. It may lead to servile insurrec- 
tion, to scenes of cruelty and horror, involving the innocent with the guilty, 
the strong with the defenseless in indiscriminate ruin. Its action would be 
at war with the spirit of the age in which we live, and with those noble 
principles of enlightened civilization which form the corner-stone of our 
beautiful fabric of government. Let us shun these extreme policies. Our 
Government is yet strong in all the elements and material of war, and with 
an abounding patriotism in the hearts of the people all over the country, 
North and South, is amply able to overthrow this wicked attempt on the 
national life. 

It may be said, however, in justice to the President, that by staying the 
execution of the proclamation for three full months he has demonstrated his 
willingness to preserve the country without the destruction of slavery and 
has fairly thrown the responsibility of saving the institution on those who 


are in arms against their country. A simple return to duty, before the first 
of January, will render the proclamation inoperative. I dismiss this topic 
with an additional suggestion which I commend to the attention of the Amer- 
ican people. The force of the proclamation as a war measure will be spent 
during the war. When the civil power shall be restored by the success of 
patriotic arms, the status of the " contraband " will be purely a judicial ques- 
tion to be determined by the Constitution and the laws. The word " for- 
ever " in the proclamation is breath and nothing more. 

And now, fellow-citizens, if you choose to make me your representative 
in the Thirty-eighth Congress I shall continue as heretofore to labor for the 
promotion of the best interests of the people of the State of Missouri. No 
public measure calculated to advance these will fail to receive my earnest 
and unqualified support. Long identified with the people of the State, and 
knowing no other home, I feel that your interest is my interest ; and for 
weal or for woe I mean to share with you a common destiny. 

In the councils of the nation I shall cooperate with, and be guided by, 
the enlightened views and patriotic purposes of such men as the noble 
Crittenden of Kentucky, and that far-seeing Republican statesman, Judge 
Thomas of Massachusetts — feeling as I do, that with such experienced 
counsellors by my side, and in the light of their patriotic example, I cannot 
greatly err in the service of my country in this its hour of agony, of peril, 
and of gloom. No man may question my devotion to the Federal Union. 
It is the political divinity which I have worshipped from my infancy, and 
my heart sickens within me to see the demon of Disunion, the abomination 
of desolation, standing in the holy place. If 

Freedom shrieked when Kosciusko fell, 

how must the heart of Liberty and Humanity be wrung when the funeral- 
pall shall be spread over the great republic ? But my eye pierces the 

gloom ! 

Sail on, sail on, O Ship of State ! — 
Sail on, O Union, strong and great ; 
Humanity with all its cares, 
With all its hopes of future years, 
Is hanging breathless on thy fate. 

Let us be true to our God-appointed mission ! Let the men of this 
generation prove themselves equal to the emergency by vindicating the in- 
tegrity of our country, by preserving and handing down to our posterity the 
priceless inheritance of popular government bequeathed to us by patriotic 
sires. Your fellow citizen, 

James S. Rollins. 

Columbia, October 27, 1862. 


Speech delivered in the House of Representatives, April 12, 1864, on the 
Resolution offered by Mr. Colfax, Proposing to Expel Mr. Long. 

Mr. Speaker: I feel somewhat embarrassed because I shall not be able 
to make in the three minutes assigned to me a very interesting speech ; 
and unless I can trench upon the time of my friend from New Jersey [Mr. 
Rogers], who, I believe, is next to occupy the floor, I shall claim from the 
courtesy of the Speaker the opportunity of submitting on Thursday morning 
a few remarks. 

I think, Mr. Speaker, from the demonstrations we have had here to night, 
that the heart of every patriot in this House and in these galleries ought to 
be filled with hope and assured with confidence that the country is safe ! 
Certainly no man, after the broad, liberal, patriotic, and antipartizan views 
which we have heard expressed here, can have a shadow of doubt that we 
shall be able to suppress this rebellion ! 

To abandon irony, Mr. Speaker, I must confess that my heart is filled with 
sadness at the continued notes of party ! party ! ! party ! ! ! which I hear 
sounded. It seems to me that all are for party and none for the country ; 
that on both sides of the House it is a continual attempt to obtain some 
small advantage for party — not to promote the great interests of the Union, 
but those of party for the next Presidential election. 

[Here the hammer fell.] 

Mr. Eldridge : I hope the gentleman shall have leave to go on. 

There was no objection. 

Mr. Rollins of Missouri : Mr. Speaker, if I could save this country from 
destruction I should be willing that this or that side of the House should 
select the man to preside over its destinies not only for the next four but for 
the next forty years. If I could save the Government from destruction it 
would be a small matter to me whether Abraham Lincoln or George B. 
McClellan presided over the country's destinies. 

Mr. Speaker, I desire to express my opinion regarding the resolution pro- 
posed by the honorable Speaker of this House. I shall not vote for the ex- 
pulsion of the member from Ohio. I think that resolution the most ill-timed 
that has been proposed here during the present session. If the speech of the 
gentleman from Ohio contains poison which is likely to produce disease in 
21 161 


the body-politic of the country, the honorable Speaker could not have selected 
a more efficient mode of infusing that poison into the public heart of the coun- 
try than by introducing a resolution to expel the honorable member from 

Without that resolution I venture to say that the speech of the gentleman 
from Ohio would perhaps not have been read by a thousand persons in the 
United States ; but as it is it will be read in every State, in every village, in 
every mansion and cabin, from one corner of the land to the other. If it had 
not been for the resolution the honorable Speaker has offered, the speech of 
the gentleman from Ohio would have fallen still-born from his lips. It would 
have passed like the speeches of other gentlemen delivered here into the polit- 
ical historical rubbish of the country, and most of us would have forgotten 
within a few weeks or months that it had ever been delivered. 

I repeat, sir, if that speech contains political poison, the censure for dis- 
seminating it must fall upon the head of the honorable Speaker of this House. 
If it be a dagger aimed at the national heart, it is the strong hand of the 
Speaker that directs it and drives home the fatal blow! And, sir, if this 
speech is capable of doing the injury which seems to be attributed to it, 
to the Speaker far more than to the gentleman from Ohio will that injury 
be due. 

But, sir, I do not apprehend any serious detriment from that speech. If 
the cause of the Union and the cause of the country is to be shaken by such 
a speech as that, it ought to perish; and if one hundred and eighty-three 
members of the House are not competent, morally and intellectually, to meet 
the honorable gentleman from Ohio in his argument, and show that he is 
wrong — if they cannot furnish the antidote for the poison, then I say we are 
unworthy to represent a free people in a great crisis like this. We are doing 
but poor justice to their intelligence and patriotism if we suppose for a mo- 
ment that a speech like that could shake their confidence in the stability of 
the Government and in the permanency of our free institutions. 

For myself, sir, I have no fears of the effect of that speech. I rely upon 
the discriminating intelligence of the great masses of the American people to 
correct in their own minds the gross errors with which it abounds; and for 
its utterance I would not expel or even censure the gentleman. I would not 
do it because I am in favor of the largest liberty of debate, especially in times 
like these. In my judgment the wisdom of our ancestors has been no better 
illustrated than in that provision of the Constitution which says that no mem- 
ber shall be expelled except upon the vote of two-thirds of the members of 
this body. We see the importance of the rule on this occasion. We see the 
lengths to which party spirit would run. We see daily in the affairs that 
occur upon this floor that questions of the utmost importance are not decided 
upon their merits, but invariably according to the strength of party on this 


or that side of the House. And while I do not mean to cast a slur upon any 
member in connection with this question, yet it may be safely said that in 
consequence of the hold which party has taken upon the minds of members 
here it would be just as easy to expel a man upon any other question that 
might be presented. It is a question of party, and I do not pretend to say 
that under like circumstances the same thing would not be attempted for 
party purposes by this side of the House. It is one of the evils of party spirit 
under a Government like this. It is one of those baneful, poisonous in- 
fluences which we ought to resist, especially when as at the present time the 
country is struggling for its existence. 

Now, Mr. Speaker, I am for the largest latitude of discussion upon all ques- 
tions, and while I disavow the sentiments uttered by the gentleman from 
Ohio in the speech for which we are called upon to expel or censure him, 
while I say to him and to the House that I think it was a most ill-timed, 
injudicious, and I might add, considering the circumstances in which it was 
delivered, unpatriotic, speech — while I say all this, yet tolerating as I do the 
largest liberty of debate, the utmost freedom of discussion, I would not even 
publicly censure him for it. I do not believe that that speech will be as pro- 
ductive of as much harm as many gentlemen suppose. It merely expresses 
the opinion the gentleman entertains from his view of the circumstances which 
now surround us, and much as I condemn both the sentiments and the speaker 
for uttering them, I would not expel or censure him for his great indiscretion. 
Sir, if every member who makes indiscreet, unwise, and I might add foolish, 
speeches on this floor were expelled or censured, how long would there be 
left a quorum, and how little of legislation would command our attention here 
except in discussing resolutions of censure ? He has merely followed the 
opinion and example of his great leader, Vallandigham, who delivered sub- 
stantially the same speech in the last Congress, that members around me 
heard, and yet no movement was made to expel him for much stronger lan- 
guage than that used on Friday last by the gentleman from Ohio. It was a 
remark of Thomas Jefferson, that great apostle of American liberty, "that 
error ceases to be dangerous so long as reason is left free to combat it." And 
the first amendment made to the Federal Constitution after its adoption is as 
follows : 

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohib- 
iting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press ; 
or of the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government 
for a redress of grievances. 

If, sir, we cannot pass a law abridging the freedom of the press or of speech 
without violating the Constitution, how cautious should we be in adopting 
another mode of punishment, unknown to the Constitution and utterly vio- 
lative of its true spirit ! In despotic governments the first blow struck at the 


liberty of the citizen is always that of muzzling the press and abridging the 
sacred right of free discussion — a right inestimable to freemen and formi- 
dable to tyrants only. Sir, it is the very essence of liberty to form our opin- 
ions and to express them according to the dictates of our own consciences. 
And to this sacred privilege, gradually recognized as the world emerged from 
the dark period of the middle ages to the dawn of light of the last few cen- 
turies, we are indebted for the wonderful advancement which we now behold 
in religion, in science, in government, and in civilization. Argue as you may, 
sir, a despotic government would nowhere be found on the face of the earth 
amidst a virtuous, enlightened, and educated people with a free press and free 
speech ! And a great and free people will not be in danger of losing their 
liberties as long as these sacred rights are properly guarded and vindicated. 
It is well known that for many years past one great complaint of the North- 
ern people has been that they were not without violence allowed to print 
and speak their sentiments south of a certain line on a particular subject. 
And shall we now, sir, after all that has been said on this subject, retrograde, 
and here in the very hall of our national legislature strike down the right 
of free discussion by expelling a member from his seat for words spoken in 
debate ? Sir, I for one am prepared for no such work as this. Let us answer 
and expose the pernicious views of the honorable member, as I take it we are 
fully competent to do, and then let us turn him over to the tender mercies 
of his constituency, whose indignation will be in direct ratio to their patriot- 
ism, to dispose of his case as to them may seem most proper and right. But 
let us not desecrate this temple, dedicated to the cause of liberty and free 
discussion, by assailing one of its chief bulwarks in striking down the right 
of free speech. It is possible that erroneous and dangerous doctrines may 
be taught here, and I can well suppose a case where the cause of the Gov- 
ernment might be temporarily damaged ; but this would be of short dura- 
tion under the searching operation of free discussion in this representative 

Truth crushed to earth shall rise again ; 
The eternal years of God are hers ; 

But error, wounded, writhes in pain, 
And dies amidst its worshippers. 

And, sir, in my view, the cause of this Government and of the American 
Union is the cause of truth, and however much it may be assailed by the puny 
and traitorous arms of those who would tear it down, or by the still weaker 
words of those men of faint hearts and vacillating hopes who in the midst of 
this mighty and unparalleled struggle for national existence would give up 
all as lost, while I am neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, speaking 
but from my own earnest faith, I predict that sooner or later the national 
authority will be vindicated, the enemies of the Government driven back in 


shame and disgrace, those who have spoken or dreamed of recognition will 
take back their injudicious words, and be made happy in once more kneeling 
with all the children of the Republic around the altar of a still unbroken and 
blessed Union, beneath the starry folds of that banner from whose bright 
azure not one star shall be blotted. I wish I had time on this occasion to 
go into a history of the discussion of public questions, not only here, but in 
the British Parliament, where the utmost freedom of debate has been allowed, 
tolerated, and encouraged. 

During the War of the Revolution, when the infant colonies of this country 
were struggling for existence, every member upon this floor knows what ter- 
rible anathemas were hurled against the British Government by Chatham, 
Burke, Fox, Sheridan, and other distinguished orators in the British Parlia- 
ment. Their language has never been equalled in severity by anything that 
has been said by any member on this floor, and yet who ever heard of a res- 
olution introduced for their expulsion ? 

To show how far the£e men went, I will quote one or two short extracts : 

The gentleman tells us America is obstinate, America is almost in open rebel- 
lion. I rejoice that America has resisted. Three million people so dead to all 
the feelings of liberty as voluntarily to submit to be slaves would have been fit 
instruments to make slaves of the rest. — Lord Chatham, in 1776. 

In November, 1777, eighteen months subsequent to the Declaration of 
Independence, after two years of war, he said : 

As to conquest, my lords, I repeat, it is impossible. You may swell every 
expense and every effort still more extravagantly — pile and accumulate every 
assistance which you can beg or borrow, traffic and barter with every little pitiful 
German prince that sells and sends his subjects to the shambles of a foreign prince 
— your efforts are forever vain and impotent. If I were an American as I 
am an Englishman, while a foreign troop was landed in my country I would 
never lay down my arms ; never, never, never. 

But in such a war as this, unjust in its principle, impracticable in its means, 
and ruinous in its consequences, I would not contribute a single effort nor a 
single shilling. 

The noble lord said the war was not disgraceful ; it was only unfortunate. For 
my part I must continue to call it disgraceful, not unfortunate. I consider them 
all alike, victories and defeats ; towns taken and towns evacuated ; new generals 
appointed and old generals recalled — they are all alike calamities ; they all spur 
us on to this fatal business. Victories give us hopes ; defeats make us desperate ; 
and both instigate us to go on. . . Give us back our force, nor protract 
this burdensome, disgraceful, for it is not an unfortunate, war. — Edmund Burke, 
in 1 78 1. 

Said Fox : 

There is not an American but must reject and resist the principle and the right. 


I quote from Mahon's "History of England," volume VII. , page 135, 
the language of the younger Pitt in favor of Fox's motion for a committee 
on the American war in the year 1781. I now read what he said : 

For my part, I am persuaded and will affirm that it is a most accursed, wicked, 
barbarous, cruel, unnatural, unjust, and diabolical war. It was conceived in 
injustice ; it was nurtured and brought forth in folly; its footsteps were marked 
with blood, slaughter, persecution, devastation. 

In 1794, when the acquittal of Home Tooke diffused such triumph all over 
England and gave a never-to-be-forgotten lesson to power through that 
great political safeguard, — that life-preserver in stormy times, — the trial by 
jury, Mr. Sheridan, in answer to Lord Mornington upon the address, said in 
reference to the atrocities committed in France : 

The surrounding States had goaded them into a still more savage 
state of madness, fury, and desperation. We had unsettled their reason, and then 
reviled their insanity ; we drove them to the extremities that produced the evils 
we arraigned ; we baited them like wild beasts until, at length, we made them so. 

Such has been your conduct towards France, that you have created the passions 
which you persecute; you mark a nation to be cut off from the world; you 
covenant for their extermination ; you swear to hunt them in their inmost recesses ; 
you load them with every species of execration ; and you now come forth with 
whining declarations on the horror of their turning upon you with the fury which 
you inspired. . . . Good God ! sir, will those who stood forth with a 
parade of disinterested patriotism and vaunted the sacrifices they had made, and 
the exposed situation they had chosen in order the better to oppose the friends 
of Brissot in England — will they thank the noble lord for reminding us how 
soon these lofty professions dwindled into little jobbing pursuits for followers and 
dependents as unfit to fill the offices procured for them as the offices themselves 
were unfit to be created? Will the train of newly-titled alarmists, of supernumerary 
negotiators, of pensioned paymasters, agents, and commissaries thank him for 
remarking to us how profitable their panic has been to themselves and how ex- 
pensive to their country ? What a contrast, indeed, do we exhibit ! What ! in 
such an hour as this, at a moment pregnant with the national fate, when, pressing 
as the emergency may be, the hard task of squeezing the money from the pockets 
of an impoverished people, from the toil, the drudgery of the shivering poor, must 
make the most practised collector's heart ache while he tears it from them, 
can it be that people of high rank and professing high principles — that they or 
their families should seek to thrive on the spoils of misery and fatten on the 
meals wrested from industrious poverty ? Can it be that this should be the case 
with the very persons who state the unprecedented peril of the country as the 
sole cause of their being found in the ministerial ranks ? The Constitution is in 
danger, religion is in danger, the very existence of the nation itself is endangered ; 
all personal and party considerations ought to vanish; the war must be supported 
by every possible exertion and by every possible sacrifice ; the people must not 


murmur at their burdens— it is for their salvation ; their all is at stake. The time 
is come when all honest and disinterested men should rally round the throne as 
round a standard — for what? Ye honest and disinterested men, to receive, for 
your own private emolument, a portion of those very taxes wrung from the people 
on the pretense of saving them from the poverty and distress which you say the 
enemy would inflict, but which you take care no enemy shall be able to aggra- 
vate. Oh ! shame ! shame ! is this a time for selfish intrigues and the little, 
dirty traffic for lucre and emolument ? Does it suit the honor of a gentle- 
man to ask at such a moment? Does it become the honesty of a minister to 
grant? Is it intended to confirm the pernicious doctrine, so industriously prop- 
agated by many, that all public men are impostors, and that every politician has 
his price? Or even where there is no principle in the bosom, why does not 
prudence hint to the mercenary and the vain to abstain awhile, at least, and wait 
the fitting of the times ? Improvident impatience ! Nay, even from those who 
seem to have no direct object of office or profit, what is the language which their 
actions speak? " The Throne is in danger ! We will support the Throne ; but 
let us share the smiles of royalty." " The order of nobility is in danger ! " "I 
will fight for nobility," says the Viscount, "but my zeal would be much greater 
if I were made an Earl." . . . Is there nothing that whispers to that right 
honorable gentleman that the crisis is too big, that the times are too gigantic, to 
be ruled by the little hackneyed every-day means of ordinary corruption ? 

On the subject of Reeve's libel Mr. Sheridan remarked : 

Never was there any country in which there was so much absence of public 
principle, and at the same time so many instances of private worth. Never was 
there so much charity and humanity towards the poor and the distressed. . . . 
Yet amidst these phenomena of private virtue it was to be remarked that there 
was almost a total want of public spirit and a most deplorable contempt of pub- 
lic principle. . . . When Rome fell, she fell by the weight of her own vices. 
. . . But when Great Britain falls, she will fall with a people full of private 
worth and virtue ; she will be ruined by the profligacy of the Government and 
the security of her inhabitants, the consequences of those pernicious doctrines 
which have taught her to place a false confidence in her strength and freedom, 
and not to look with distrust and apprehension to the misconduct and corruption 
of those to whom she has trusted the management of her resources. 

Again, in 1795: 

I am sorry that it is hardly possible for any man to speak in this house, and to 
obtain credit for speaking from a principle of public spirit ; that no man can 
oppose a minister without being accused of faction, and none, who usually 
oppose, can support a minister or lend him assistance in anything without being 
accused of doing so from interested motives. 

On the assessed tax bill : 

But we have gained, forsooth, several ships by the victory of the first of June 
— by the capture of Toulon — by the acquisition of those charnel-houses in the 


West Indies, in which fifty thousand men have been lost to this country. Con- 
sider the price which has been paid for these successes. For these boasted 
successes, I will say, give me back the blood of Englishmen which has been shed 
in this fatal contest — give me back the two hundred and fifty millions of debt 
which it has occasioned — give me back the honor of the country which has been 
tarnished — give me back the credit of the country which has been destroyed — 
give me back the solidity of the Bank of England which has been overthrown; 
the attachment of the people to their ancient Constitution, which has been shaken 
by acts of oppression and tyrannical laws — give me back the kingdom of Ireland, 
the connection of which is endangered by a cruel and outrageous system of mili- 
tary coercion — give me back that pledge of eternal war, which must be attended 
with inevitable ruin ! 

And in June, 1798, the year of the Irish rebellion : 

What ! when conciliation was held out to the people, was there any discontent? 
When the government of Ireland was agreeable to the people, was there any dis- 
content? After the prospect of that conciliation was taken away, — after Lord 
Fitzwilliam was recalled, — after the hopes which had been raised were blasted, — 
when the spirit of the people was beaten down, insulted, despised, I will ask any 
gentlemen to point out a single act of conciliation which has emanated from the 
government of Ireland? On the contrary, has not that country exhibited one 
continual scene of the most grievous oppression, of the most vexatious proceed- 
ings; arbitrary punishments inflicted ; torture declared necessary by the highest 
authority in the sister-kingdom next to that of the legislature ? And do gentle- 
men say that the indignant spirit which is roused by such government is unpro- 
voked? Is this conciliation ? Is this lenity ? Has everything been done to avert 
the evils of the rebellion? It is the fashion to say, and the address holds the 
same language, that the rebellion which now rages in the sister-kingdom has been 
owing to the machinations of " wicked men." Agreeing to the amendment pro- 
posed, it was my first intention to move that these words should be omitted. But, 
sir, the fact they assert is true. It is, indeed, to the measures of wicked men that 
the deplorable state of Ireland is to be imputed. It is to those wicked ministers 
who have broken the promises they held out, who betrayed the party they 
seduced into their views to be the instruments of the foulest treachery that ever 
was practised against any people. It is to those wicked ministers who have given 
up that devoted country to plunder — resigned it a prey to this faction by 
which it has so long been trampled upon, and abandoned it to every species of 
insult and oppression by which a country was ever overwhelmed, or the spirit of 
a people insulted, that we owe the miseries into which Ireland is plunged, and the 
dangers by which England is threatened. 

Such, sir, was the burning language of Sheridan in the British Parliament 
on the various questions discussed, and yet who ever heard of any move- 
ment — who ever saw the honorable Speaker descend from his chair and 
by his talents and influence upon the floor seek either to expel or to censure 
him ? 


Again, sir, no member here can have forgotten the memorable language 
of Mr. Corwin of Ohio, in the Senate of the United States, during the Mex- 
ican war. He said : 

Were I a Mexican, as I am an American, I would welcome these invaders with 
bloody hands to hospitable graves. 

Yet no one ever dreamed of either expelling or censuring Mr. Corwin for 
this remarkable utterance based upon sentiments hostile to the war then 
being waged on the part of our country against Mexico. 

Sir, in a free country like ours, is not a latitude of debate to be allowed ? 
Is not discussion to be as broad as it is under a monarchical government 
in the Parliament of Great Britain ? Sir, there is no subject on which a free 
people are more sensitive than that of free speech. It is regarded, and 
justly so, as one of the bulwarks of liberty, and any attempt to abridge it, 
and especially in these halls, must be, as it ought to be, condemned by the 
American people. And to-day, sir, if this House commits the great blun- 
der of expelling the member from Ohio by the passage of this resolution, 
mark my prediction, he will rally around him a formidable party — not that 
the people indorse him or sympathize with him in the sentiments contained 
in his speech, but in vindication of the sacred right of free speech in the 
representative hall of the national legislature. 

Mr. Speaker, I rose not only for the purpose of saying to the House 
that I for one could not and would not vote for the resolution of expulsion 
which has been offered here by the honorable Speaker of the House ol 
Representatives, and to add that I think he has done the very worst day's 
work he could possibly have done by introducing a resolution expelling the 
gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Long], but also for another purpose, and that 
is, to express my dissent from every position taken by the gentleman from 
Ohio in that speech. I differ with him toto c<xlo. He is for giving up 
the struggle. He is for Disunion. He is for the recognition of the South- 
ern Confederacy, now, at once. It occurs to me if the view of the gentle- 
man from Ohio were carried out, it would be the saddest day the American 
people would ever be called upon to witness. Who that has an American 
heart in his bosom can tolerate for a moment the idea that this great strug- 
gle is to be abandoned in ignominy and in disgrace, to the eternal shame 
of the cause of liberty throughout the world ? I do not believe this Gov- 
ernment is likely to fail in the struggle. I believe that the people of the 
loyal States have every assurance and confidence that it will result in our 
success, and that we shall recover authority over every inch of territory be- 
longing to the United States. In opinion I wholly dissent from the gentle- 
man from Ohio as well as from the gentleman from Maryland. 


I believe, sir, that this rebellion will be overcome ; not that the Southern 
people will be exterminated or subjugated, but I believe that their mili- 
tary power will be broken, and when it is broken, — such is my confi- 
dence in their good sense, — that they will then return to their allegiance 
and submit to those liberal terms which, I doubt not, will be proposed. 
It has often been reiterated that this rebellion is without excuse or justifi- 
cation. This is true to the letter. No people on earth, prior to this civil 
war, ever enjoyed a higher degree of liberty or a larger amount of happiness 
than the people of the Southern States. And it is right that they should 
be continually reminded that this rebellion is the offspring of the violent 
and ungovernable passions of their leading men. In proof of this I desire to 
quote two extracts from speeches made by Mr. A. H. Stephens, of Georgia, 
the Vice-President of the Confederate States. In a speech delivered before 
the Legislature of. Georgia on the 14th day of November, i860, after the 
election of Mr Lincoln, he used the following language : 

The first question that presents itself is, shall the people of the South secede 
from the Union in consequence of the election of Mr. Lincoln to the Presidency 
of the United States? My countrymen, I tell you frankly, candidly, and ear- 
nestly that I do not think that they ought. In my judgment, the election of no 
man constitutionally chosen to that high office is sufficient cause for any State to 
separate from the Union. It ought to stand by and aid still in maintaining the 
Constitution of the country. To make a point of resistance to the Government, 
to withdraw from it because a man has been constitutionally elected, puts us in 
the wrong. We are pledged to maintain the Constitution. Many of us have 
sworn to support it. Can we, therefore, for the mere election of a man to the 
Presidency, and that, too, in accordance with the prescribed forms of the Con- 
stitution, make a point of resistance to the Government, and without becoming the 
breakers of that sacred instrument ourselves, withdraw ourselves from it? Would 
we not be in the wrong? Whatever fate is to befall this country, let it never be 
laid to the charge of the people of the South, and especially to the people of 
Georgia, that we were untrue to our national engagements. Let the fault and 
the wrong rest upon others. If all our hopes are to be blasted, if the Republic 
is to go down, let us be found to the last moment standing on the deck, with the 
Constitution of the United States waving over our heads. Let the fanatics of the 
North break the Constitution if such is their fell purpose. Let the responsibility 
be upon them. I shall speak presently more of their acts ; but let not the South, 
let us not be the ones to commit the aggression. We went into the election with 
this people. The result was different from what we wished ; but the election has 
been constitutionally held. Were we to make a point of resistance to the Gov- 
ernment and go out of the Union on that account, the record would be made up 
hereafter against us. 

And subsequently, in the secession convention of Georgia, in January, 
1 86 1, he spoke as follows: 


This step [of secession] once taken can never be recalled, and all the baleful 
and withering consequences that must follow will rest on the convention for all 
coming time. When we and our posterity shall sec our lovely South desolated 
by the demon of war which this act of yours will inevitably invite and call forth, 
when our green fields of waving harvests shall be trodden down by the murderous 
soldiery and fiery car of war sweeping over our land, our temples of justice laid 
in ashes, all the horrors and desolations of war upon us, who but this convention 
will be held responsible for it; and who but him who shall have given his vote 
for this unwise and ill-timed measure, as I honestly think and believe, shall be 
held to strict account for this suicidal act by the present generation, and proba- 
bly cursed and execrated by posterity for all coming time, for the wide and 
lating ruin that will inevitably follow this act you now propose to perpetrate? 
Pause, I entreat you. . . . 

What right has the North assailed ? What interest of the South has been in- 
vaded ? What justice has been denied, and what claim founded in justice and 
right has been withheld? Can either of you to-day name one governmental act 
of wrong, deliberately and purposely done by the Government at Washington, of 
which the South has a right to complain ? I challenge the answer. . . . 

We have always had the control of the general Government, and can yet if we 
remain in it and are as united as we have been. We have had a majority of the 
Presidents chosen from the South, as well as the control and management of most 
of those chosen from the North. We have had sixty years of Southern I 
dents to their twenty-four, thus controlling the Executive Department. So of the 
judges of the Supreme Court, we have had eighteen from the South, and but 
eleven from the North ; although nearly four-fifths of the judicial business has 
arisen in the free States, yet a majority of the court has always been from the 
South. This we have required, so as to guard against any interpretation of the 
Constitution unfavorable to us. In like manner we have been equally watchful 
to guard our interests in the legislative branch of Government. In choosing 
the presiding Presidents (pro tempore) of the Senate, we have had twenty-four to 
their eleven. Speakers of the House we have had twenty-three, and they twelve. 
While the majority of the Representatives, from their greater population, have 
always been from the North, yet we havi rally secured the Speaker, be- 

cause he, to a great extent, shapes and controls the legislation of the country. . 

Attorneys-general we have had fourteen, while the Northerns have had but 
five; foreign ministers we have had eighty-six, and they fifty-four. 

We have had the principal embassies, so as to secure the world markets for 
our cotton, tobacco, and sugar on the best possible terms. W r e have had a vast 
majority of the higher offices of both army and navy, while a large proportion 
of the soldiers and sailors were drawn from the North. Equally so of clerks, 
auditors, and comptrollers filling the Executive Departments. The records show 
for the last fifty years that of three thousand thus employed we have had more 
than two-thirds of the same, while we have had but one-third of the white popu- 
lation of the Republic. ... A fraction over three-fourths of the revenue 
collected for the support of the Government has uniformly been raised from 


the North. Pause now while you can, gentlemen, and contemplate carefully and 
candidly these important items. . . . 

For you to attempt to overthrow such a government as this under which we 
have lived for more than three-quarters of a century, in which we have gained 
our wealth, our standing as a nation, our domestic safety, while the elements of 
peril are around us, with peace and tranquillity accompanied with unbounded 
prosperity and rights unassailed, is the height of madness, folly, and wickedness, 
to which I can neither lend my sanction nor my voice. 

Now, sir, if the question were put to me, would I abandon this struggle ? 
I would answer in the language of the great Kentucky orator, " Never, 
never, never ! " If again asked, " When shall we abandon the struggle ; 
at what particular time ? " I would answer, " When the last dollar is ex- 
pended, and the last man raised for the prosecution of the war for putting 
down this causeless, this unjustifiable rebellion. Not until the credit of the 
Union is lost and in' irretrievable ruin would I give up the struggle to main- 
tain the supremacy of the law and the authority of the Constitution over 
our entire soil. 

Not until the germ of patriotism has withered and rotted in the national 
heart would I yield up the struggle ; not until the last vestige of respect 
was lost for that proud and beautiful banner, the emblem of liberty and of 
law, which decorates your chair; not, sir, until the thrilling memories 
which cluster around the actions of those immortal men [Washington and 
Lafayette] whose images adorn these walls shall have entirely died away in 
our hearts ; not until the last pulsation of patriotism shall have ceased to 
beat in the American heart would I yield the struggle in which our people 
are at present engaged for the existence of the nation and of free institutions. 
I am for the Union first, last, and all the time. Whatever stands in the way 
of the Union, I say let it perish. 

My friend from Ohio, if he will allow me to designate him as such, in 
getting out of the war by recognizing the Southern Confederacy would, it 
seems to me, only plunge the country into a war destined to continue as long 
as the endless ages of time shall run their ceaseless course. For the sake of 
peace the gentleman from Ohio would dissolve the Union and stop the war! 
Sir, I answer him that for the sake of permanent peace on this continent I 
would preserve the Union, and in order to preserve it I would continue the 
war. By wisdom, prudence, and conciliation these terrible calamities might 
have been and ought to have been averted. But whatever might have been 
accomplished before the war, it seems to me now, sir, that there is but one 
way to terminate the struggle consistently with the idea of national unity, 
and that is to overcome and put down effectually all who stand opposed to 
the maintenance of the authority of the Government of the United States. 
It is idle to talk about the Government having no constitutional power to 


coerce sovereign and independent States. The Constitution provides that 
the President shall see that " the laws are faithfully executed " ; and how can 
these laws be executed, when either people or States stand in the way of 
their execution, without applying the necessary force to put and keep them 
in operation ? 

Talk about coercing States ! Sir, what would a government be worth 
which had not the authority and energy to preserve its own existence ? 
Suppose the Union were dissolved to-morrow, and the State of Ohio deter- 
mined to secede from the Northern Government, what would the gentleman 
say ? Would he say, let her go in peace, and upon the ground that her people 
were not bound under the Constitution to submit to the national authority ? 
Sir, where would this doctrine terminate ? Suppose, sir, every other State 
determined to secede, and set up an independent government for itself? If 
the rule is to be tolerated in one case, it must govern in all. Why not ? 
And is the gentleman from Ohio prepared to see as many different and in- 
dependent governments set up on this continent as there are now, or may 
hereafter be, States in the Union ? Under the prevalence of such a doc- 
trine, I would ask him, what is to become of the national debt ? Who is to 
pay it ? What is to become of the army and of the navy ? Who is to defend 
the seaboard ? Who is to protect our commerce upon the seas ? Who is 
to own the Territories ? Who is to represent the American name abroad ? 
Who is to defend us against foreign aggression ? The very suggestion of 
these questions shows the absurdity of the position assumed by the gentle- 
man from Ohio in his speech, and a hundred other questions of a similar 
character would overwhelm and confound him and all others that think like 
him. No, sir, there can be no two separate governments on this continent. 
We are bound to live under the same constitution ; this is our only safety, 
and those people who will not do so peaceably must be made to do so 

In regard to coercion I might add that all governments, whether demo- 
cratic or monarchical, are but different systems of coercion. No government 
could stand a day without the principle of coercion. Without it, not only 
would governments be broken up, but society itself would be dissolved. In 
one of his great speeches in the Senate of the United States Henry Clay 
used the following language : 

If any one State, or any portion of the people of any State, choose to place 
themselves in array against the Government of the Union, I am for trying the 
strength of this Government. I am for ascertaining whether we have a government 
or not, practicable, efficient, capable of maintaining its authority, and upholding 
the powers and interests which belong to a government. Nor, sir, am I to be 
alarmed or dissuaded from any such course by intimations of the spilling of blood. 
If blood is to be spilt, by whose fault is it to be spilt? Upon the supposition I 


maintained, it will be the fault of those who choose to raise the standard of dis- 
union, and endeavor to prostrate the Government. And, sir, when that is done, 
so long as it pleases God to give me a voice to express my sentiments, or an arm, 
weak and enfeebled as it may be by age, that voice and that arm will be on 
the side of my country, for the support of the general authority and for the 
maintenance of the powers of the Union. 

If Kentucky to-morrow unfurls the banner of resistance, I never will fight 
under that banner; I owe a paramount allegiance to the whole Union — a 
subordinate one to my own State. — Henry Clay, in the Senate, fSjo. 

But, sir, admitting for the sake of argument that there could be two in- 
dependent governments established here, each composed of different States, 
and based upon the right of secession, I might well ask the gentleman from 
Ohio how long they would last ? And to-day, sir, he talks seriously about 
a dissolution of the American Union ! If the thing were possible, how would 
he go about it ? What would be the first step ? Would he withdraw the 
splendid army under the command of the brave and invincible Grant to 
the north side of the Potomac ? And what a spectacle would that be for 
the American people to look upon at this stage of our momentous struggle ! 
What next ? A line of separation is to be established. Where ? Where is 
the boundary to run if we recognize the Southern Confederacy ? Can the 
gentleman from Ohio answer the question ? Let it be remembered that 
these insurgents claim all the Southern States. Let it not be forgotten that 
all the Southern States with the exception, I believe, of Maryland and Dela- 
ware are represented in the Richmond Congress. Who is to take Washing- 
ton City ? Is yonder monument, commemorative of the virtues and the great 
actions of him who was " first in peace, first in war, and first in the hearts of 
his countrymen," overlooking with calm and godlike brow the ceaseless flow 
of that beautiful river whose waves may kiss every strand, and from whose 
shores that empyrean banner may be borne to greet the eye and reinvigorate 
the soul of Liberty's martyrs in every land — is it to stand upon the soil of a 
government established upon the ruins of the great Republic ? And is that 
sacred spot, Mount Vernon, with all the glorious associations that cluster 
around it, its precious relics, the sacred ashes that lie beneath its soil, the old 
mansion with its beautiful walks, its stately trees, its evergreens, and its fra- 
grant flowers planted by the hand of Washington, to belong to a hostile 
people ? Is the home of the Father of his Country to be denationalized, and 
American citizens no longer permitted to kneel at his tomb ? God forbid ! 
Who is to occupy this splendid and magnificent Capitol ? Where is Missouri 
to go, that young and giant commonwealth that I have the honor, in part, of 
representing on this floor ? What is to become of her Union people who 
have sacrificed so much in the cause of their country ? If recognition takes 
place, is her broad domain, an empire within itself equal to all New England. 


and perhaps with natural wealth superior to any other State in the Union — 
is it to be made the tail-end of the Southern Confederacy, whose chief polit- 
ical doctrine is the right of secession, and whose main cornerstone, in the 
language of Mr. Stephens of Georgia, is " African slavery " ? And where is 
Kentucky, the resting-place of Clay and of Crittenden, to go ? Will the 
gentleman from Ohio consent that the flourishing city which he and his dis- 
tinguished colleague represent on this floor be located upon the immediate 
border of a foreign and hostile country, separated only by a narrow river ? 
Upon the theory of recognition, what is to become of " Old Virginia," that 
magna mater virum ? Who is to decide ? The people of Virginia ? Sir, 
will her loyal inhabitants, and the loyal people of Maryland, and of the other 
loyal States ever consent that these two great States shall be lost to the Amer- 
ican Union ? Does not the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Long] see that the 
first step at negotiation would be a failure ? That it is " war to the knife and 
the knife to the hilt," except upon the condition of the national integrity and 
unity ? Does he not see that the withdrawal of our troops would be only a 
withdrawal for the purpose of renewing the struggle at once and afresh until 
one or the other of these Powers is overcome ? I say to the gentleman from 
Ohio that the Southern Confederacy will be established all over this land and 
this Government go down, or this Government must assert its authority, 
maintain its jurisdiction, and crush the rebellion. The two cannot exist side 
by side, and entertaining this view I am on the side of the Government. In 
the language of the immortal Clay, my paramount obligation is to the present 
Government, and not to the State in which I was born or in which I live. 

What does the gentleman propose by recognition ? What ? I ask him 
where he would run the line ? I have seen no man who could answer that 
question. The very suggestion of a line brings along with it the idea of 
continuous war. What is to become of the Territories ? Who is to take 
them — the people of the loyal States, or the people of the pretended Confed- 
eracy? The controversy itself started originally mainly about the Terri- 
tories, and who is to take them in the event of recognition ? Look at the 
sea-coast, reaching from the Chesapeake around to the mouth of the Rio 
Grande, three thousand miles, with all its bays and harbors, and nearly all 
of them in the possession of the Government of the United States. Shall 
we surrender these? And what about the commerce of the great rivers of 
the West, and especially of that great inland sea, the Mississippi ? Who is to 
command and control the commerce which floats upon its broad bosom 
to the Gulf and thence to the sea? Are we to give that up? And yet that 
follows recognition ! Do gentlemen expect to obtain peace by dissolution? 
Vain delusion ! Look back at the teachings and warnings of the fathers of 
the Republic in regard to this mighty question. Let the gentleman from 
Ohio drink into his heart the inspirations of Washington when the founda- 


tions of free government were laid upon this continent. Let him study well 
the opinions of Clay, Webster, and Jackson, and the great men whose hearts 
were often overwhelmed with anxiety in the midst of the great political con- 
tests which took place in this Capitol in reference to the fate of the Ameri- 
can Union. They had no desire to lift the veil and look beyond the 
destruction of the Government. To their inspired vision the cause of lib- 
erty and of progress was identified with the continuance and perpetuity of 
the Union formed by our fathers. There was no hope beyond this. With- 
out it, to them all was uncertainty, doubt, darkness, and despotism. In 
that grand peroration of the noblest effort of his life, which will be read with 
admiration as long as the English language is spoken among men, Mr. 
Webster said : 

I have not allowed myself, sir, to look beyond the Union, to see what lies hid- 
den in the dark recess behind ; I have not coolly weighed the chances of pre- 
serving liberty when the bonds that unite us together shall be broken asunder ; 
I have not accustomed myself to hang over the precipice of Disunion, to see 
whether, with my short sight, I can fathom the depth of the abyss below ; nor 
could I regard him as a safe counselor in the affairs of this Government whose 
thoughts should be mainly bent on considering, not how the Union may be best 
preserved, but how tolerable might be the condition of the people when it should 
be broken up and destroyed. While the Union lasts, we have high, exciting, 
gratifying prospects spread out before us, for us and our children. Beyond that, 
I seek not to penetrate the veil. God grant that in my day, at least, that cur- 
tain may not rise ! God grant that on my vision never may be opened what lies 
behind ! When my eyes shall be turned to behold for the last time the sun in 
heaven, may I not see him shining on the broken and dishonored fragments of a 
once glorious Union ; on States dissevered, discordant, belligerent ; on a land 
rent with civil feuds or drenched, it may be, in fraternal blood ! Let their last 
feeble and lingering glance rather behold the gorgeous ensign of the Republic, 
now known and honored throughout the earth, still full high advanced, its arms 
and trophies streaming in their original luster, not a stripe erased or polluted, 
nor a single star obscured, bearing for its motto no such miserable interrogatory 
as, " What is all this worth?" nor those other words of delusion and folly, "Lib- 
erty first and Union afterwards," but everywhere, spread all over in characters 
of living light, blazing on all its ample folds as they float over the sea and over 
the land and in every wind under the whole heavens, that other sentiment, dear 
to every true American heart — " Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and 
inseparable ! " 

The one is inseparably connected with the other. The cause of civiliza- 
tion and of human liberty must hang together with this Government, in my 
humble opinion. We owe it to ourselves in gratitude to a noble ancestry, 
we owe it to the posterity that is to succeed us, that this bright casket ot 
liberty be transmitted to them unimpaired. This free Constitution of ours 


was framed after a long and bloody struggle by our patriot ancestors. We 
had grown up and prospered under it, and had become, up to the breaking 
out of this rebellion, one of the proudest and most powerful nations on the 
face of the earth. And damned to everlasting perdition be the degenerate 
sons of noble sires who would permit such a bright and lovely heritage to 
pass from them ! 

But, sir, it is not alone for ourselves and for our posterity upon this con- 
tinent that we should maintain this struggle. Where, sir, is the hope of the 
world ? Follow the course of the sun in its annual circuit around the heavens ; 
go to the benighted portions of the globe; go to the civilized and Christian 
parts of earth where the people are downtrodden by strong and arbitrary 
governments, and where do they look for a model of imitation and for help 
and succor in the days of their trial ? Where, but to our own hitherto happy 
country, the United States of America; ay, sir, the United States ! This 
has been to them the beacon-light, the " bright particular star," that, like 
the Star in the East that appeared over the babe of Bethlehem, is guiding 
the oppressed of all the earth to the safe and secure resting-place of liberty. 

Sir, we owe not only to ourselves and to our posterity, but we owe to all 
future humanity in every country, beneath every clime, the maintenance of 
this struggle against traitors armed for the purpose of destroying the Gov- 
ernment, until we can come out of it with the Stars and Stripes once more 
floating proudly, not only from the dome of this Capitol, but from every hill- 
top and valley from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the Penobscot to 
the Rio Grande; over the deck of every ship whose columbiads awake the 
morning with their salute to Freedom's sentinel and warning to tyrants ; on 
every wave that reflects back to the sky's blue vault its sister stars, not more 
glorious in their heavenly sphere than those that will then float over the 
brave men, fair women, and merry children, North and South, of our again 
united and happy country. 

I am, then, sir, for war in order that when peace does come it may be 
permanent and lasting. Better fight to preserve our national unity than go 
to pieces and have thereafter a thousand multiplied causes of war among 
ourselves. The unity of the nation once settled, the Constitution and laws 
vindicated and obeyed, there will be no longer any cause for strife and con- 
tention among ourselves and our posterity. We shall not fall a prey to the 
great powers of the earth, but feeling that consciousness of strength which 
unity always inspires, practised in the art of war as our people will be, and 
chastened and subdued by the terrible ordeal through which we shall have 
passed, our Government and our people will then be able to stand the test 
of time and defy the world in arms against us. 

Nor let it be said that there can be no Union after the end of this cruel 
and unnatural civil war. Nations, like individuals, are at last governed by 


their own best interests; and the war once terminated, there will be a thou- 
sand considerations of mutual interest to bind us indissolubly together. The 
same motives that prompted our fathers to establish a common Govern- 
ment and Union will operate with tenfold power on us in restoring that 
which we had well-nigh lost. The feelings of prejudice and of hate cannot 
always last; these will wear away with time, and both parties having learned 
the prowess and strength of each other will in the future cultivate in a higher 
degree those sentiments of mutual respect and forbearance that are so 
essential to the peace of the country and the good order of society. 

Such, sir, is the history of the world. Everybody for peace, and yet men 
engaged in perpetual war. Other nations have had trials similar to those 
that are now unhappily upon us. They have been rent and torn by civil 
wars. But at last the powerful motive of self-interest has controlled, and 
people apparently forever alienated have united and lived happily together. 
The states of ancient Greece, after many civil wars, hesitated not in uniting ' 
to drive back the Persian invader. The border wars between England and 
Scotland, lasting for centuries, were finally settled in peace, and claymore 
and cross-bow lived in harmony and union under one and the same mon- 
arch. The bloodiest record of English history is that of the fierce struggle 
between the houses of York and Lancaster, yet those wars at last termi- 
nated, and the white and red roses were happily united. 

The rivalship of white and red, 

Of rose and rose was ended ; 
They say, when fierce contentions fled, 

On beauty's cheek they blended. 

Similar illustrations may be found running through the history of all our 
race, among the Jews, Romans, Spaniards, Germans, nearly all carrying along 
with them the encouraging idea that civil wars are not necessarily fatal to the 
peace of those who are engaged in them, nor to union and harmony when 
the unhappy conflicts have ended. 

Mr. Speaker, I am well aware of the disconnected nature of the remarks 
that I am addressing to the House on this occasion, and I will detain it 
but a few moments longer. How shall the Union be restored when we have 
broken the military power of the Confederate States ? We hear a great deal 
about extermination. The gentleman from Kentucky [Mr. Smith] has spoken 
of" subjugation, emancipation, extermination." These « harps of a thousand 
strings " have been played upon pretty extensively here. We have heard, 
too, of confiscation not only of the property of the rebels but of that of their 
children, and of that other doctrine of " miscegenation." I believe that is 
what they call it. 


Mr. Speaker, I have entire confidence not only in the patriotism but also 
in the liberality and the wise statesmanship of the people of the loyal States 
of this Union, and in making this remark I apply it to all parties. I believe 
that when the military power of the rebel States is broken the most liberal 
terms will be offered to the Southern people consistent with our duty to the 
Government whose authority and integrity we are defending, and consistent 
with those just responsibilities and burdens that must fall and rest upon the 
men who have been instrumental in inaugurating and carrying on this most 
causeless and unhappy rebellion. I have never believed that this war would 
result in the extermination, degradation, or exile of the masses of the people 
of the South, or the spoliation of their property ; nor have I ever believed 
that it would result in universal emancipation without providing ample and 
liberal compensation to owners of slaves as property, and giving them full 
time to dispose of an institution long established among them, the sudden 
annihilation of which might lead to the most disastrous consequences both 
to the white and black race. . . . 

But, sir, the work that we have first to do is to break and destroy their 
military power. Until this is accomplished it is idle to talk about restoration. 
This is the first thing to be done, and there ought not to be two opinions upon 
that question between any two loyal men, no matter what party they belong 
to. Were it not for a disposition on the part of individuals to promote the 
interest of this or that party, of this or that candidate for the presidential 
office, there is no good reason why eight-tenths of the members of this House 
should not agree upon a liberal, enlightened, statesmanlike, and constitu- 
tional policy for the purpose of overthrowing this rebellion and reestablishing 
the authority of the Government. 

There may be some peace men on this side of the House, like the gentle- 
man from Ohio [Mr. Long] who has so avowed himself, or like the gentleman 
from New York [Mr. Fernando Wood]. There may be some men (I cannot 
designate them myself) who are/^r^disunionists, and have been these many 
years, because we know that there are such in the North as well as in the 
South; and we know that there are some men who claim now to be par ex- 
cellence the Union men of the country who doubt the loyalty and patriotism 
of every man that happens to differ from them, and yet but a few years ago 
they were " singing psalms " to Disunion — but a few years ago they were 
praying for Disunion simply because there happened to exist in the country 
an institution that was obnoxious to their sensibilities and their opinion of 
right. Sir, I have no confidence in the Unionism of such men. Sir, we have 
disunionists in the North as well as in the South, but I thank God I have 
believed and still believe that they are few in number outside of the rebellion. 
The Republican party proper I have looked upon as an antislavery party 
in the just sense of the term, and according to those principles that were 


avowed by such men as Washington, Jefferson, and Madison and other 
Fathers of the Republic when they laid the foundations of free government 
on this continent. They were antislavery then ; they regarded the institu- 
tion of slavery as a great evil, and under the Constitution and according to 
the forms of law they looked for and desired its gradual extinction in this 
country. But they were willing to leave this question to the patience, the 
sound judgment, and the patriotism of their posterity; and but for those 
pestiferous men, the radical abolitionists of the North and the secessionists 
of the South, so long working in cooperation and aiming at the same object, 
our unhappy country might have been saved this bloody ordeal, endanger- 
ing the very existence of the Government, causing so many tears to flow and 
so many hearts to bleed in every nook and corner of the country. 

But the great middle class of which we are the representatives, the mid- 
dle men of all parties, Republican and Democratic, in the loyal States, aye, 
and in the disloyal States too, are true to the core. They rise to the dignity 
of the subject. They can and do appreciate the importance of the restora- 
tion and salvation of the Government. All they desire is a more broad 
and liberal statesmanship in the leaders of their respective parties — for them 
to unite, to come together, and pull up by the roots this noxious rebellion 
and restore peace to the land. 

Mr. Speaker, I have a document that I believe I will read before taking 
my seat. It is from the pen of the present chief magistrate of the nation. 
I know he is not regarded as very good authority by some of my friends 
around me, and I cannot say that he is the best authority with me on all 
questions. But I think this is one of the soundest papers that he has written 
since he came into power. I thought so at the time I first read it ; I think 
so yet. And I do not see why every loyal man may not come up to this 
standard. It is a letter addressed to Horace Greeley some eighteen months 
ago. I know that matters have considerably advanced since this letter was 
written. Though not a very progressive man, still I have kept advancing 
" step by step to the music of the Union," and I have at all events, I believe, 
got up to this letter. I will read it for the benefit of my Democratic friends, 
who seem to be listening to me with such patient attention : 

Executive Mansion, Washington, August 22, 1862. 

Dear Sir: I have just read yours of the 19th, addressed to myself through the 
New-York Tribune. If there be any statements or assumptions of fact which I 
may know to be erroneous, I do not now and here controvert them. If there be in 
it any inferences which I may believe to be falsely drawn, I do not now and here 
argue against them. If there be perceptible in itan impatient and dictatorial tone, 
I waive it in deference to an old friend whose heart I have always supposed to be 


As to the policy I " seem to be pursuing," as you say, I have not meant to leave 
any one in doubt. I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way 
under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored, the 
nearer the Union will be "the Union as it was." If there be those who would not 
save the Union unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree 
with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at 
the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object 
in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. 
If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it ; and if I could 
save it by freeing all slaves I would do it ; and if I could save it by freeing some 
and leaving others alone, I would also do that. What I do about slavery and the 
colored race I do because I believe it helps to save this Union ; and what I for- 
bear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall 
do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do 
more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause. I shall try to correct 
errors when shown to be errors, and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall 
appear to be true views. 

I have here stated my purpose according to my views of official duty ; and I in- 
tend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men everywhere 
could be free. Yours, 

A. Lincoln. 

Hon. Horace Greeley. 

I believe I might put that to the vote of my honorable friends around 
me, and that with the exception of the honorable gentleman from Maryland 
[Mr. Harris], and perhaps the honorable gentleman from Ohio, whose case 
we have under consideration, it would get a universal " aye." I do not 
think my friends on the Republican side will back down from so broad and 
liberal a policy as is indicated in that letter. 

Mr. Speaker, yet another word. I have referred to the immense interests 
at stake in the struggle that is now going on between this Government and 
those who are in rebellion against it. Defeat to us is eternal, everlasting 
disgrace and dishonor to ourselves and our children. We must succeed. 
It cannot be otherwise. 

In the mighty struggle that we suppose is now impending, when a more 
terrible crash of arms will be felt than any that has yet taken place during 
this terrible strife, suppose that accomplished general, the most accomplished 
perhaps of all the generals on either side, at least equal to any in military 
skill and power, Robert E. Lee, should beat down our forces and drive them 
back across the Potomac ; what then ? Are our hearts to sink within us, 
are we to give up the struggle in despair? Suppose this Capital is taken, 
suppose the President at the other end of the avenue is compelled to re- 
move a few hundred miles further north, and this Congress to go elsewhere 
for the purpose of holding its sessions ! Suppose the Potomac is crossed ! 


the Chesapeake reached! Baltimore taken! Suppose they march to the 
Susquehanna, and pass victoriously through Maryland and Pennsylvania, 
will you then be contented to give up the struggle ? Never, never ! Stand 
by your flag ! Stand by your Constitution ! Rally the power and strength 
of the loyal States that have not yet exhibited themselves. Bring out your 
middle classes; bring out your gray-headed and gray-bearded men, and put 
the Union at last upon its real trial. 

Will it take a year longer; two years longer ; five years longer ? What 
are years in the history of a nation ; what is time, what is money, what is 
blood, compared to the preservation and salvation of a government like 
this? Will you say that we have already lost $2,000,000,000; that five 
hundred thousand men are already missing from the nation's muster-roll, 
and that you are therefore ready to acknowledge the effort to save the Union 
a failure ? Sir, here are five hundred thousand more of our sons to be sacri- 
ficed, and here is a government to be saved. Which is of most value — 
$2,000,000,000 and five hundred thousand men for putting down this rebel- 
lion, or this Government ? Will you weigh these sacrifices against the 
preservation of liberty and free institutions for ourselves, our posterity, and 
all who shall make America their happy home ? God forbid ! God forbid ! 
We will not give it up, let the war last five years or ten years. We will con- 
tinue it as long as any power remains in this Government. And if I could 
send the same spirit to the children that God has blessed me with, it should 
descend to them from sire to son until that flag which is now streaming from 
the dome of this Capitol should wave over every portion of this once happy 
country as the flag of a free, powerful, happy, and redeemed people. 

Sir, if we do not bring ourselves out of these troubles, if we are so degener- 
ate as to permit a government like this to die, if we are such unworthy sons 
of noble sires as to shrink from and give up this contest, we deserve all the 
curses that will fall upon us. Let us fight on, trusting in that Providence 
which sustained our ancestors. We are in his hands, and if we are suffi- 
ciently worthy of the trust that has been placed in us not to basely surrender 
it up, God will see to it that this nation was not born to die so soon. 

Look at the bright destiny that awaits this country if we can get over the 
dark and stormy sea that lies before us. Look at the West, at the Father- 
of-Waters upon which it is my good fortune to live, and see the larger, 
brighter, and richer heritage than that which lies east of that mighty stream 
that is yet in store for it. Even during the present session of Congress we 
are preparing to admit three new States, which the enterprise and energy of 
our sons have already rendered populous, extending to the base of the 
Rocky Mountains. In Nevada, Colorado, and in California are to be de- 
veloped untold riches that of themselves will be the means of relieving us 
from the burdens which will have been brought upon us in consequence of 


this cruel and unnatural war. Let us come out of it, and let the angel of 
peace once more spread his bright wings over the continent, over a free and 
united people, and the energy of our masses will be revived. Like a young 
giant they will spring up at a bound ; their activity renewed, their hopes 
inspired, their prospects brightened, they will go forward in the enjoyment 
of peace, of free institutions, and with a success altogether unknown in our 
previous history. 

[Here the hammer fell.] 

Mr. Rollins of Missouri : Mr. Speaker, I ask but a minute or two more. 
Mr. Eldridge : There is no objection on this side of the House to the 
gentleman having the additional time he asks. 

Mr. Rollins of Missouri : Mr. Speaker, I will not detain the House at 
this late hour. That, sir, is the bright day to which I look ; that is the view to 
which my vision turns. I want to see this disastrous war brought to an hon- 
orable close, and these difficulties adjusted free from prejudice, and by a 
liberal, enlightened, wise, and philanthropic policy that will enable the peo- 
ple of all the States to meet once more in council upon terms of fraternity 
and equality, and consult dispassionately and sensibly in regard to their own 
true interests and those of their posterity. Burying the sad memories of 
the last few years, being purified by the misfortunes and calamities which 
unhappily have overtaken us, and relying with unshaken confidence upon 
the good Providence that watched over the great Republic in its infancy, it 
cannot be but that a bright destiny still awaits the American people. Our 
American nationality preserved, with a name known and honored as here- 
tofore throughout all the earth, our Government will be at once the envy 
and admiration of mankind. Beneath the broad aegis of a free Constitution 
and equal laws, with the States and the general Government working in 
harmony under the influence of well adjusted and appropriately balanced 
powers, our country will be the home and asylum of all who seek to cast 
their lot where men are protected in all their rights, where the avenues to 
honor, to fame, and to usefulness are open to the humblest citizen having 
energy, virtue, and talent to recommend him. 

Let our watchword be, " Upward and onward," and even during the pres- 
ent generation we shall behold our Government the first among the nations 
of the earth. Wearing the proud title of American citizen, the rights of the 
humblest man will be respected in every part of the habitable globe. And 
looking to our hitherto unparalleled advancement in all the elements of 
national power, in population, in wealth, in the intelligence of the masses, 
in mechanical skill, in agricultural industry, the day cannot be far distant 
when that bright and beautiful banner, the emblem of Western civilization, 
will have gathered upon its ample folds an hundred stars representing the 


independent States stretching across this continent from the Atlantic to 
the Pacific seas, wearing the proud motto, " E pluribus unum" and resting 
securely within an American Union that shall give to all a consciousness 
of strength sufficient to strangle treason at home and repel invasion from 
abroad, thus reassuring the world that at last the United States of America is 

The land of the free and the home of the brave. 

Speech in the House of Representatives, May 30, 1864, on his 
Resolution Declaratory of the Objecls of the War. 

The House then proceeded, as the regular order of business, to the considera- 
tion of a resolution offered on the 16th of December, 1863, by Mr. Rollins of 
Missouri, as follows : 

Resolved, That, prompted by a just patriotism, we are in favor of an earnest 
and successful prosecution of the war, and that we will give a warm and hearty 
support to all those measures which will be most effective in speedily overcoming 
the rebellion and in securing a restoration of peace, and which may not substan- 
tially infringe the Constitution and tend to subvert the true theory and character 
of the Government ; and we hereby reiterate that the present deplorable civil war 
has been forced upon the country by the disunionists now in revolt against the 
constitutional Government ; that in the progress of this war Congress, banishing 
all feeling of mere passion or resentment, will recollect only its duty to the whole 
country ; that this war is not waged on our part in any spirit of oppression, nor 
for any purpose of conquest or subjugation, nor purpose of overthrowing or inter- 
fering with the rights or established institutions of those States, but to defend and 
maintain the supremacy of the Constitution, and to preserve the Union with all 
the dignity, equality, and rights of the several States unimpaired ; that as soon 
as these objects are accomplished the war ought to cease. 

The Speaker stated the pending question to be, on the motion of Mr. Morrill, 
to refer the resolution to a select committee. 

Mr. Rollins of Missouri: Mr. Speaker, the resolution that has just 
been read I had the honor to offer to the House on the 16th day of Decem- 
ber last. It is in effect the same resolution that was adopted at the July 
session, 1861, of the Thirty-seventh Congress, with only two dissenting 
voices — Potter of Wisconsin, and Burnett of Kentucky- the last named 
individual being now a member of the Confederate Congress at Richmond. 
I believed it to be right then, — I voted for it, — and I believe it to be right 
now. It is presented in no partizan spirit. At the time of its introduction 
it was pronounced by a member on this floor, now deceased [Mr. Lovejoy], 
a " secession document." Upon a motion to lay the resolution on the table 
the vote stood, 59 yeas, 114 nays. After the vote, the gentleman from Illi- 
nois [Mr. Washburn] proposing to debate it, it went over under the rules 
of the House, and now for the first time since comes up for consideration 
to-day. While it is not my purpose to detain the House long, I feel that it 
is but right, as the mover of the resolution, that I should say a few words 


in regard to it. Whatever may come of it, I have to say, Mr. Speaker, that 
it presents a platform upon which I have stood from the commencement of 
the rebellion ; and it has occurred to me that it is a safe platform upon which 
every sincerely patriotic Union man in the nation might stand, no matter to 
what political party he might belong. And it was offered not only as expres- 
sive of my own sentiments, but as affording a rallying point for all the friends 
of the Government in the terrible struggle for its maintenance. I hope the 
House will come to a direct vote on the resolution. Let us see who is for 
it and who is against it. I hope there will be no indifferent motions made 
in regard to it. 

If ever there was a time, Mr. Speaker, when there should be a cordial 
unity of sentiment and of action among all those who desire to preserve the 
happy form of government under which we live, it is the present moment. 
And, sir, if we fail in this gigantic and important struggle; if the ship of 
state, so richly freighted, tempest-tossed and threatened on all sides with 
dangers, shall go down, it will be lost not on account of inability on our 
part to preserve it, but because we exhaust our strength upon questions 
of secondary importance, and because of the infidelity of the crew in not 
directing their whole energies to the safety of the vessel. Sir, for what do 
we contend? Is it that this or that institution, long existing in some of 
the States, should suddenly perish ? Is it to have this or that amendment 
hastily, and it may be irregularly, incorporated into the Constitution ? Or 
is it for the far higher and nobler object of preserving the Constitution itself, 
which is the only bond of union that can bind indissolubly together the 
people of all the States ? 

Mr. Speaker, in my younger days it was often a matter of congratulation 
to myself that the American people were so blessed in their happy and 
matchless form of government, and so far advanced in Christian civilization, 
that they would never attempt to settle political questions in any other 
mode than by the peaceful processes of reason and of logic. In the history 
of the world I had read of the desolating civil wars by which other nations 
had been visited to gratify the ambition of kings and of despots, but I had 
flattered myself that we should be exempted from these calamities, and 
that the fierce barbarism that in other periods of the world's history had 
stained with blood the annals of our race would never disturb the good 
order of society, endanger the structure of our own government, or mar the 
beauty of our social and political organization. In this I have been sadly 

I confess, sir, I placed far too high an estimate on the good sense, the 
virtue, and intelligence of the American people. Foolishly involved, as we 
are, in one of the most causeless and disastrous struggles that the world has 
ever witnessed, we are but following in the footsteps of those who have pre- 


ceded us ; setting at naught the precepts of wisdom, trampling under foot 
the teachings, and setting at defiance the moderation of the great and good 
men who, with so much care, had built this grand temple of liberty, beneath 
whose shadow their posterity for ages might have lived in the enjoyment of 
every blessing that a great country and the noblest and freest institutions 
ever planted on earth could confer, we find ourselves rapidly undermining 
this beautiful temple, bringing poverty and death upon ourselves, and de- 
stroying the hopes of the world in the capacity of men to maintain and 
preserve a government based upon the will of the people and a written 
constitution. It is an old adage that " human nature is the same in every 
period of the world," and we seem determined that its truth shall be fully 
exemplified in our own history. Sir, mankind are amazed at the events 
that are now happening around us, and we are stultified by the follies and 
calamities that we have brought upon ourselves. We are now solving the 
important problem whether we shall be equal to the task of preserving a 
Government and a Union that our ancestors had the wisdom to create and 
establish. No greater problem was ever presented for solution since the 
first dawn of creation, and no question more important to the well-being of 
our race in all the ages that are to follow was ever discussed among men. 
And, sir, if we can pass through this civil war with the Federal Constitution 
and the American Union preserved, it will be the sublimest spectacle that 
the world has ever witnessed, presented by the political interests and actions 
of men. 

In my poor view war is not the best mode of preserving a Government 
and a Union founded on the popular will, and having for its chief corner- 
stone the affections of the people ; and a fearful responsibility rests upon all 
those who in public and in private life have in any way opposed conciliation, 
and by their conduct nurtured and encouraged the deplorable civil war 
that alike disgraces and afflicts our country. But, sir, for the present we 
must pass by these questions. At another time and under other circum- 
stances we may be permitted to inquire into these matters, while the record of 
history will be properly made in fixing the blame that rightfully attaches 
to all those to whom the country is indebted for its present misfortunes. 
The question now is not so much for what causes and by whose indiscretion 
this civil war exists, but how we can most safely and honorably get out of it 
with the life of the nation and the union of the States preserved. In the 
settlement of these important questions the heart of every true patriot throbs 
with anxiety, and to these, and these alone, should all our energies be now 
directed. In the midst of these great events, more important in their conse- 
quences than any that have ever taken place in the world's history, we should 
rise above all considerations of party malevolence or mere personal revenge. 
For whatever may be the errors, however great the crimes, that the South- 


em people have committed in comme7icing this war against the Government 
of their fathers, we must remember that they sprang from the same stock with 
ourselves, that we have the same religion, speak the same language, were 
educated in the same schools, have the same traditions, and must share a 
common destiny ; and in the very war now being waged they have proved 
themselves in generalship, in ingenuity, in courage, in pertinacity, in endu- 
rance, and in military skill a foe in all respects " worthy of our steel." It is 
idle for us in these particulars to underrate the high qualities of the Southern 
people. Upon a hundred bloody and well-fought fields they have attested 
their valor, and wrung from us an unwilling tribute to their stern devotion 
to the bad and unjustifiable cause in which they are engaged. If we may 
boast of a Grant, a McClellan, a Hancock, a Sedgwick, and a Sherman, we 
must remember they have their Lees, their Johnstons, their Beauregards, their 
Longstreets, and their Hills. I know, sir, that in giving expression to these 
liberal sentiments, founded though they are in truth, I run the risk of incur- 
ring the displeasure of those rampant patriots who are unwilling to acknow- 
ledge the possession of any virtue by our obstinate and deluded enemy. 
We have underrated these people. Engaged as they are in an unholy cause, 
and abhorring it as we do, we have been slow to acknowledge the high 
qualities by which they have thus far sustained it; and at last, sir, when 
their military power is overcome, as by the blessing of God it will be, if we 
would then expect to have peace in the land we shall have to treat with 
them upon the same terms and in the same manner that other liberal and 
enlightened nationalities have treated with those violators of the law who 
have attempted to overthrow and destroy the government under which 
they live. 

Mr. Speaker, since the outbreak of the rebellion, the actual commence- 
ment of the war, I have seen no other mode of ending the struggle than by 
fighting it out. It was and is either this or the acknowledgment of the 
independence of the Confederate States. These have been and are now 
the alternatives presented to the American people. These issues cannot be 
changed; and regarding Disunion as fraught with every possible evil to 
ourselves and to our posterity, as a stigma upon our national escutcheon 
never to be obliterated, a disgrace to the American name, a drawback to 
civilization and progress, a destruction to our nationality in the continuance 
of which is centered the best hopes of mankind, I have seen no other 
way since the war began of ending the controversy and reestablishing the 
authority of the Government than by the dread arbitrament of arms. The 
Southern people themselves who are actually' engaged in the rebellion con- 
template nothing else ; they have staked their all upon it ; Disunion is their 
watchword; to it they are wedded, and they will give it up only when, ex- 
hausted in men and resources, they shall be compelled to yield to the supe- 


rior power of the Government. Hence, sir, in my view that legislator best 
meets the obligations of true patriotism in this crisis and sustains the idea 
of an early and a lasting peace who stands by the Government in voting men 
and money to carry on the war, and in encouraging every constitutional 
measure calculated to weaken and at the same time to end the rebellion — 
not in a spirit of" passion or resentment," in the language of the resolution, 
" nor for any purpose of conquest or subjugation, nor purpose of overthrow- 
ing or interfering with the rights or established institutions of those States, 
but to defend and maintain the supremacy of the Constitution, and to pre- 
serve the Union with all the dignity, equality, and rights of the several States 

Such is the language of the resolution ; and these, in my view, are the 
only true objects for which the war ought to be prosecuted. And any de- 
parture hitherto or hereafter made from the spirit of this resolution will only 
tend to prolong the struggle, to complicate it with new and difficult questions, 
to produce division and alienation among those who ought to be united in 
the one essential object of saving the Government and reestablishing its 
authority over the entire country. To the securing of these everything else 
ought to be incidental and subordinate. And, sir, I venture the assertion 
that if from the beginning, when a similar resolution was adopted with such 
great unanimity by this House, and approved and sanctioned I believe by 
all the departments of the Government, its spirit and purpose had been 
strictly adhered to, and the policy of the Government in no respect changed, 
we should this day have not only greater harmony among ourselves, but we 
should be much nearer the end of the rebellion. In other words, sir, if from 
the beginning we had pursued the policy which all Union men started out 
upon, if we had held aloft the Constitution and the olive branch in one hand 
and the sword in the other, assuring in every way the people of all the States 
of the South that our sole purpose and duty was to defend the Constitution 
of the United States, to maintain the authority of the Government, and up- 
hold the Union of the States, it is my firm conviction that to-day, sir, there 
would have been a Union party in the South equal in numbers to the party 
that is now endeavoring to destroy the Government. For we know at the 
commencement there was a powerful Union party in every Southern State, 
with perhaps the exception of South Carolina. And if we find matters so 
greatly changed, we have to look for the cause mainly in the changed policy 
into which we have drifted and which has been pursued. They commenced 
the war without excuse or justification, but we have been continually mak- 
ing a cause for them, until they now present an almost unbroken phalanx 
against the Government and the progress of the national arms. 

I know, sir, that the President has been surrounded by great difficulties 
growing out of the rebellion, far greater than any that ever beset any 


other President, and having confidence in his patriotism and his sincere 
desire to overcome the rebellion at the earliest possible day, and to reestab- 
lish the authority of the Government, I have not felt it to be my duty to make 
war upon him in regard to those questions wherein I differed with him. In 
a great crisis like this, while there must be wide differences of opinion, there 
should at the same time be permitted the freest toleration of sentiment among 
all those that claim to have the same patriotic object in view. Nor would 
I hold men to the strictest account for those changes of opinion that 
revolution and the constantly varying aspect of public questions tend to 
bring about in their minds. I can well see that men may be equally honest 
and patriotic, and yet differ widely in reference to the best policy for the 
Government to pursue where . dangers threaten on all sides. But many 
questions have been started and issues presented that have no necessary 
connection with the war, and that have been calculated greatly to distract 
and divide the people and draw their attention from that which should be 
the only true issue before the country. And to the extent that these ill- 
timed and irrelevant questions continue to be urged upon us will the cause 
of the Government and of the Union be weakened and endangered. For at 
last, at the end of the struggle, we shall have to come back, if we would 
save the Union to which all of us profess so much attachment, to the very 
terms and spirit of the resolution now under discussion. In the language of 
Mr. Lincoln in his inaugural address, " Suppose you go to war, you cannot 
fight always ; and when after much loss on both sides and no gain on either 
you cease fighting, the identical old questions as to terms of intercourse are 
again upon you " — and I repeat, to be settled, if at all, in the spirit of that 

I know of no punishment too severe to be inflicted upon the authors of 
this cruel and unnecessary rebellion ; but so far as the masses are concerned 
who have been deluded and led astray, we should not only adopt a policy 
of the broadest amnesty, but we should abandon all schemes of confiscation 
and legalized plunder, some of which have been persistently and too success- 
fully urged upon this House. I take the same view of all those insane 
theories having for their object the subversion of the State Governments and 
the converting of them into territorial dependencies. In looking to reunion, 
I have no other idea than that the States will be preserved in the same 
geographical and political relations to the general Government that ex- 
isted anterior to the rebellion. That there will be changes in some respects 
I do not doubt. As well might we expect to see the hurricane and the storm 
sweep across the land without uprooting the forests as to see a country like 
ours pass through the bloody ordeal of a great revolution without some im- 
portant modifications in the organic law. But it is to be hoped that these 
changes will not materially infringe the true theory and character of our 
Government nor deform the essential features of the Federal Constitution. 


These unavoidable and incidental changes produced by a great rebellion 
we must submit to. But we can never have, in my view, a better form of 
government than the one under which we have lived — the most perfect, 
consistently with the idea of the fullest enjoyment of human liberty, that was 
ever formed. The division of the powers of the general and State Govern- 
ments, so admirably adapted to the protection and the promotion of the 
interests of the nation and of the individual States, the perfect harmony and 
beautiful simplicity of the whole machinery working in such excellent order, 
commanded alike the admiration and the wonder of men. Endangered at 
last by an attempt to put into practical operation the extreme and perilous 
and, I would add, absurd theory of the constitutional right of a State to secede 
from the Union, we must be careful, in avoiding this risk in our political sys- 
tem, not to drift to the other extreme, whereby the rights of the States would 
be ignored and swallowed up in consolidation and centralization. Our safety 
consists in guarding with jealous care the rights and the powers of the indi- 
vidual States as well as of the general Government, as defined in the Federa 
Constitution — a Constitution that in the achievements of human wisdom 
stands without a parallel, and of which a distinguished Virginian, at one 
time an eloquent member of this House, now a general in the Confederate 
service, said : 

Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, all combined, in Congress or out of Con- 
gress, in Convention or out of Convention, never made that Constitution ; God 
Almighty sent it down to your fathers. It was a work, too, of glory, and a work 
of inspiration. 

I believe that as fully as I believe in my Bible. No man, from Hamilton, and 
Jay, and Madison, from Edmund Randolph, — who had the chief hand in making 
it, and he was a Virginian, — the writers of it, the authors of it, and you who have 
lived under it from 1789 to this year of our Lord 1858, and none of your fathers, 
and none of your fathers' sons, have ever measured the height, or the depth, or 
the length, or the breadth of the wisdom of that Constitution. — Speech of Henry 
A. Wise, 1858. 

I act upon the theory that the Union is to be preserved and the Govern- 
ment saved from wreck; for it may be, if we fail in the grand effort we 
are now making for national preservation, that the whole character of our 
institutions may be changed, and the Government itself converted into an 
absolute military despotism. For one, sir, I should be content to-day with 
the old order of things, with " the Constitution as it is and the Union as 
it was." They met the objects for which they were created. No people on 
earth ever prospered as did the American people under the influence of our 
free and beneficent institutions. They were established by the wisest and 
noblest men that ever adorned the annals of human history. I was satisfied 
with their work ; it was good enough for me and for my children. I would 
not have changed it myself, nor do I know the men who are wise enough to 


improve it. And all this is perfectly consistent with that advancement and 
rational progress in the science of government and human improvement 
which a more liberalized culture among the masses and a steadily advancing 
Christian civilization would be sure to bring. 

Mr. Speaker, as we seem to approach the termination of this struggle, 
questions of the greatest magnitude constantly spring up, demanding of us 
the most earnest consideration in their proper settlement. Even after the re- 
bellious are overthrown, their capital taken, and their archives (if they have 
any) scattered to the four winds, and their military power so far overcome as to 
be no longer effective and dangerous, the question will still be asked, how can 
the masses of the people be best brought back to their former relations to the 
Government ? I know the theory is encouraged by some gentlemen — I hope 
they are not very numerous — that these people are to be deprived of all their 
political rights, that they are no longer to be admitted to the full privileges of 
citizenship under the Government. Whatever justice there may be in all such 
suggestions as applicable to the leaders in this rebellion, I cannot appreci- 
ate the- wisdom or practicability of such a policy extended to all the masses 
of the people. It would certainly be destructive of " all the ends we aim 
at," in endeavoring to bring about a restoration of the Government. We 
all profess a desire to see the Southern people, who have been led astray, 
return to their allegiance and meet the common obligations which we all 
owe to the parent Government. But how can we expect them to do this 
with all the onerous conditions so strongly urged by some imposed upon 
them? No, sir; even after the war is over there must be negotiation and 
reconciliation. All these people cannot be driven in exile from the coun- 
try; you cannot punish them all for the crime of treason; they must come 
back, and while they will be taught, and if need be forced, to obey the laws, 
they must be made to feel that under the Government all their rights will be 
respected and protected, and by a faithful observance of all the laws they will 
be placed upon the same footing of equality with every other citizen of the 
Republic. To insure their fidelity, they may and perhaps they ought to be 
required to take such oaths and to conform to such other reasonable con- 
ditions as may be sanctioned by the good judgment, and accord with the 
enlightened liberality of, the country. By this policy we may reasonably 
hope to have peace after the war is over ; the disorders of society produced 
by the rebellion will be assuaged ; prejudices enkindled by the fierce conflict 
of arms will be extinguished ; and we must leave it to time to heal other 
wounds and to appease the sectional animosities so long agitating the coun- 
try, culminating, at last, in a disgraceful and bloody war that shakes the 
very foundations upon which the superstructure of our Government rests. 

Mr. Speaker, in my poor view this is the only mode by which we can ever 
expect to restore perfect peace to the country and bring once more to all the 


people that prosperity and good order which existed prior to the breaking 
out of this rebellion. Residing in a State where at one time the opposition 
to the Federal Government on the part of many of the citizens was violent 
and unrelenting, which has furnished a large number of soldiers to the Con- 
federate army, but in which the authority of the general Government has 
been almost entirely reestablished, and the citizens have returned to their 
allegiance, I am not wholly without experience in reference to the influence 
and good effect of the policy to which I have adverted. I know that these 
opinions will find but little sympathy with many gentlemen on this floor. 
Extremely radical as they are, and indignant at the attempt to destroy the 
Government, irritated at the calamities which the war has brought upon the 
country and the heavy burdens which must rest for many years to come upon 
the shoulders of the people, and following the instincts of human nature, they 
think more of inflicting punishment upon the guilty than of striving by a 
liberal and humane policy to win them back to their allegiance. They would 
confiscate their estates; they would parcel out their lands among the brave 
soldiers who have borne aloft the banner of their country in the suppression 
of the rebellion ; they would deprive them of the right to vote as well as 
of the right to hold office under the Government; they would establish a 
system of serfdom over the entire Southern States; they would create a 
necessity for a standing army in every county and district of that part of our 
country in order to keep the peace and prevent revolt ! And some would 
even go so far as to elevate the negro to the privileges of citizenship and the 
ownership of the property of the country, while they would see our own race, 
men of Anglo-Saxon blood, degraded in the scale of being and made mere 
" hewers of wood and drawers of water " for that servile and inferior race of 
men whom they have hitherto held as slaves ! Sir, I cannot repress the in- 
dignation which I feel, and which the bare intimation of a policy like this 
awakens in my bosom, and I must regard the men who would attempt the 
execution of such a policy as none other than madmen. 

Oh, judgment, art thou fled to brutish beasts, 
And have men lost their reason ? 

Mr. Speaker, I think I appreciate at its full value the importance of the 
preservation of the American Union and of the Government of the United 
States. The idea of a continuance of our national unity, and the grand re- 
sults in the long vista of coming years that would flow from it, in diffusing 
the blessings of liberty and of free government to mankind in every part of 
the habitable globe, has been the thought, more than any other, that has 
guided and influenced my political action in life. It has been the political 
divinity at whose altar I have worshiped from my infancy; and when I con- 
template the horrors that must inevitably result from the breaking up of 



this national unity, the degradation and dishonor that must forever attach 
to the very name of American, I feel that we ought to be ready to make any 
and every sacrifice in order to preserve it. But, sir, there are some things, in 
my view, that are even worse than disunion ; and rather than see that bright 
and beautiful land destroyed, its people deprived of citizenship, the Southern 
States brought into complete subjection and controlled and governed by 
the other States ; rather than see the negro, under the influence of a false 
philanthropy and a pertinacious fanaticism, taking the place of the white 
man and made by law politically and socially his equal, or, as some would 
prefer, his master — sir, rather than witness these things, horrible as the 
idea of disunion has ever been to me, I would say let there be separation, 
hoping still, however, that in the future, when the animosities of the present 
hour no longer prevail, another generation of men, following the patriotic 
example of the fathers of the Republic, would once more bring about a union 
so much demanded by the interests of this continent and the happiness and 
liberty of our race. No, sir; I am for preserving the Government, but with 
all the " dignity, equality, and rights of the several States unimpaired," and 
I will add further, with the rights of the people, of every citizen of the Re- 
public, wherever he may reside, equal under the law and under the Con- 
stitution, he being responsible only in a legal and constitutional manner for 
any violations of the law or for any crimes and offenses that he may com- 
mit against the Government. These are the general views that have oc- 
curred to me as most proper to be adopted in any plan of reunion that 
may come up for consideration after the cessation of hostilities, and they are 
substantially embodied in the resolution which we now have under con- 
sideration. But, sir, all these theories will fail, all resolutions passed by this 
House or by the Congress of the United States will be of no avail, unless our 
arms meet with success. The overthrow of the military power of the South 
is a sine qua non to the reestablishment of peace and the restoration of the 
Union ; and every measure that tends to strengthen our army, to encour- 
age our soldiers in the field, to sustain our generals, should receive the 
cordial support and hearty approbation of every patriot in the land. 

Mr. Speaker, I have never despaired of the Republic. I know the terrible 
trial that is now upon us, and the still more terrible ordeal through which 
we may yet have to pass before we reach the end of the struggle. But, sir, 
I believe that the American people will be equal to all emergencies that 
may spring out of this contest. They are alive to its importance. They 
know the issues at stake. Hitherto they have responded with alacrity and 
promptness to every call that the Government has made upon them ; they 
have not spared their means and they have proved themselves ever ready to 
bare their bosoms to the storm. And now at the very crisis of the nation's 
fate, in the midst of the remorseless and desperate struggle that has at last 


come upon us, when the capital of the Confederate States is threatened and, 
as we hope, on the eve of being taken, their President and high officers 
driven from the sacred soil of Virginia, and their government literally broken 
up ; when the brave and immortal Grant, worthy, as he has proved himself 
to be, of the highest honors of the nation, is bearing aloft the national ensign 
and carrying the eagles of the Republic to the very heart of rebeldom, we 
have abundant cause for thankfulness to Almighty God for the bright bow of 
promise that spans our skies. And in this hour of the deepest anxiety, 
when the fate of the nation and the perpetuity of our Government are trem- 
bling in the balance, and when the complete success of our arms will send a 
thrill of gladness and of joy, of hope and of confidence, to the heart of every 
friend of free government throughout the habitable globe, may God inspire 
every true friend of the Constitution and of the Union with courage, with 
patience, with hope, with magnanimity, that we may meet the duties of the 
hour like men, " high-minded men," not only at the present time, but also 
when we shall have passed through the great impending crisis that is now 
upon us. 

With these remarks, Mr. Speaker, if no other gentleman desires to discuss 
the resolution, I move the previous question ; but I first desire to modify the 
resolution by striking out the word " substantial." 

Speech on the Proposed ^Amendment to the Constitution of the United 
States, delivered in the Home of Representatives, January 1 3, 1865. 

Joint Resolution Submitting to the Legislatures of the Several 

States a Proposition to Amend the Constitution of the 

United States. 

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States 
of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of both Houses concurring), That 
the following Article be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States as 
an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which, when ratified by 
three-fourths of said Legislatures, shall be valid, to all intents and purposes, as a 
part of said Constitution, namely: 

Article XIII. 

SEC. 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for 
crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the 
United States or any place subject to their jurisdiction. 

Sec. 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate 

The aforegoing resolution having been under consideration by the House of 
Representatives of the United States, the House proceeded to vote on the adop- 
tion thereof on the 15th of June. 1864, and the same was lost by 94 ayes to 64 
nays (not two-thirds). Mr. Ashley, before the result was announced, changed 
his vote to the negative, and entered a motion to reconsider — pending which, 
on the 13th of January, 1865, the House being in Committee of the Whole, 
Mr. Rollins said : 

Mr. Chairman, I desire to submit a few observations to the House upon 
the important proposition now pending before the final vote is taken upon 
it. The remarks that I shall make will be rather of the nature of a per- 
sonal explanation than of any elaborate argumentation of this question. At 
the last session of Congress when the vote was taken upon this proposition 
I opposed it. When the vote is again taken I shall favor it. I have changed 
my views in reference to the expediency of this measure ; and while I do not 
suppose that what I may say will have the slightest influence in changing the 
vote of any gentleman upon this floor, I am satisfied with the reasons that 
have induced me to change my opinion and my action ; and it is perhaps 
due to myself, humble as I am, as well as to those I represent and who take 
any interest in the opinions that I may entertain or express here, to present 


to the House and the country some of the considerations that have induced 
me to this change. 

Mr. Speaker, I entertain the same opinion to-day in regard to the rebel- 
lion that I have always entertained. I feel the same animosity, the same 
hatred, the same abhorrence for it and for those who initiated it now that I 
did when it was first hatched. Indeed, I may say, sir, that regarding the 
consequences that it has produced in my own State and throughout the coun- 
try I am less inclined to-day than ever to look upon it with any degree of 
forbearance. Regarding it always as without excuse or justification, I am 
to-day inclined to the opinion that there was not even the shadow of a shade 
of pretext for commencing this disastrous rebellion. 

But, sir, heretofore, and even now, I have acted with that body of men 
who are disposed to pursue a conciliatory policy with a view to obtain the 
high object we all had in view, and that was the preservation of the Consti- 
tution and the salvation of the Union. When I say I have been acting with 
that class of men who desire to pursue a conciliatory policy I do not mean 
to say that I have not always been in favor of an earnest prosecution of this 
war; but I mean to say that I desire to blend the two, — war and the olive 
branch, — the olive branch ever in front of the sword, a constant protest to 
the intelligent public sentiment of the South that it is not the object of the 
Government to oppress, but that it is the high and noble purpose of the 
representatives of the people and of the United States Government to ex- 
tend and secure to them all the rights that they can rightfully claim under 
the Constitution of our fathers. It is my firm conviction that we have not 
sufficiently pursued a conciliatory policy ; not sufficiently tried to impress 
on the public mind of the masses of the South the true objects we all have 
in view in the prosecution of this war. And while I am not now disposed to 
say that a different line of policy would have brought about a different re- 
sult — would have had the effect of putting down the rebellion, or have stopped 
this unfortunate war, or have sustained the Government, I am sure that 
such a policy would have done no harm ; that the effect would have been 
good; that, at all events, it would have resulted in consolidating the Union 
sentiment in the loyal States of the Union, and checked to a great extent 
the collision of sentiment and consequent diversity of action that have 
occurred among Union men. 

I have been surprised, Mr. Speaker, that the distinguished men who have 
charge of the Government have not stopped long enough to listen to the 
suggestions of plain and humble men in regard to this question. Sir, if I 
had occupied the high position of the President of the United States, even 
recently, I would have made every soldier in Sherman's army the bearer ot 
a message of peace and good-will to the humblest men in the humblest cabins 
in the State of Georgia. He then had an opportunity of reaching that dis- 


tant population. I judge the people from my own experience. I know 
how the masses of the common people have been deluded and misled by 
their leaders. I have seen the effect of this thing around me at my own 
home, and I know the influence that such appeals, coming from those in 
authority, have upon the minds of the masses of the common people of the 
country ; and I to-day believe that if such a line of policy had been pur- 
sued, and the minds of the people of Georgia could be reached, it would be 
but a short time before the Administration of this Government would have 
a stronger and more faithful party .among the people of that State than Davis 

Mr. Speaker, I have another general observation to make. In my action 
as a Representative upon this floor it has never been my purpose to pursue 
a course either for the preservation or for the destruction of the institution 
of slavery. I have had a more important and a nobler object in view, for 
I regard it a more important and a nobler object to preserve this free Con- 
stitution of ours, to preserve our glorious rfnd happy form of government and 
the Union of these States, than can be any interest connected with the pres- 
ervation or destruction of African slavery upon this continent. That has 
been altogether a secondary and subordinate consideration compared with 
the better purpose which I have just named ; and in every vote that I have 
given, whether tending to weaken the institution of slavery or to strengthen 
it, that vote has been cast after considering the question, how far will this 
or that measure tend to strengthen the Government and to preserve the 
Constitution and the Union ? 

To be, or not to be — that is the question. 

Sir, if I could save this Constitution and this Union by preserving the in- 
stitution of slavery in its present status in the various States, I would do it 
most cheerfully. Perhaps I would go further than many of my friends on 
the other side of the House : if I could save the Constitution of my country 
and the Union of these States even by extending the institution of slavery, I 
would do it. Why ? Not because I am the especial friend of the institu- 
tion of slavery, but because I regard as the paramount and most important 
question of the times the preservation of our own liberties, of our own Con- 
stitution and free government. And, sir, I accept also the other view of 
the proposition : if I could save the Constitution and the Union by the par- 
tial destruction of slavery I would partially destroy it ; and if I could save 
the Constitution and Union of my country by the total destruction of slavery 
— cutting it up by the roots, extirpating the cancer at once — I most un- 
questionably would do it; for I regard the preservation of these as para- 
mount, and far higher than any interest affecting the freedom or slavery of 


the African race upon this continent. In other words, I adopt precisely the 
sentiment so felicitously expressed by the President of the United States in 
a letter that he addressed to Mr. Greeley more than two years ago ; and in 
order to refresh the minds of these gentlemen who are pleased to give me 
their attention I desire to read one or two sentences from that letter. It 
expresses the correct views, to which, as I think, all men that aim at the 
preservation of the Government should adhere. The President said : 

My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union and is not either to 
save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave 
I would do it ; and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it ; and if 
I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. 
What I do about slavery and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to 
save the Union ; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would 
help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing 
hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help 
the cause. 

That was the disposition of the President two years ago. That was my 
position then, and it has not altered since. What I propose to do now in the 
vote that I shall give upon this proposition I do simply because I believe 
that ultimately it will tend to save the Union; and to effect that I am willing 
to do more now than I have done heretofore. When I cast the vote that 
I did before, upon this proposition, I had no doubt in regard to the power 
of Congress to submit this amendment to the States; and the vote I then 
gave was given on the ground of expediency alone. For at that time, as I 
have stated, I was in favor of pursuing a more conciliatory policy. I be- 
lieved that by pursuing such a course and assuring the people of the South 
that our object was to preserve their rights under the Constitution they 
might be induced to return. And I was willing that they should return with 
the institution of slavery preserved as it then existed in different States of 
this Union. And I believe now that if political events had taken a different 
direction from what they have taken, in all probability those States would 
have been invited to return with all their rights — and, along with the rest, 
their right to the institution of slavery. 

And I will make this further remark, that it was this general leading con- 
sideration that induced me to support the distinguished and patriotic man 
who was nominated for the Presidency in opposition to the present President. 
It was because I believed the one would offer and be satisfied with more 
liberal terms than the other, and therefore that there would be in all prob- 
ability a better chance of preserving the Constitution and the Government 
under the administration of that man than by a continuance of the adminis- 
tration of Mr. Lincoln. But I confess here to-day, that when I look at all 
the changes that would have necessarily resulted from a change of adminis- 


tration, in its men and its policies, I am inclined to doubt whether, under all 
the circumstances, the people have not at last acted more wisely than I did. 
I do not claim to be infallible. 

While I do not take the voice of the majority, however large, as the sole 
rule of my action, I am always willing to defer to it and to treat with respect 
the opinions of a majority of the people of my country. It has been inti- 
mated here that perhaps there are some gentlemen who incline to change 
their views and action in reference to this important subject because the cur- 
rent seems to set in that direction. Now, if I believed that I was governed 
by any such consideration as that I should despise myself. I never have 
been a man to seek out the direction of the popular current upon which to 
set sail in my feeble bark. It is the pride of my public life that I have nearly 
always been in a minority at home and in the nation. I scarcely ever 
had an opportunity to know how a man feels in the majority ! And I have 
some pride in regard to it, because I believe that, as a general rule, there 
is more public virtue, more truth, and more honesty in the leading minds 
that control minorities than in those that direct majorities, and this from a 
principle in human nature that we all understand. No, sir ; I am governed 
by no such consideration as that. I am governed by the single object 
of doing something in my humble way that may tend to preserve this 
Union and continue it after we shall have restored to it the States now 
in rebellion. 

Now, sir, I come to make a few observations in reference to a question 
that has been very elaborately discussed here during the consideration of 
this subject; and that is the question of the constitutional power of Con- 
gress to do the thing we aim at to-day. I know how immodest it may be 
for me, after the very able and distinguished gentlemen who have discussed 
this question so elaborately, to say a word upon it. But as I speak for my 
constituents at home, as well as to this House, and especially to those who act 
with me on this occasion, I desire to be clearly understood. If I believed 
this amendment to be unconstitutional, as a matter of course I should be 
bound by my oath not to give a vote for it ; but believing it to be constitu- 
tional, and believing also in the expediency of the measure, I shall vote for 
the amendment. 

Is this amendment constitutional ? How are we to get light upon this 
subject ? My answer is, by referring to the instrument itself; and I have 
yet to meet the first gentleman on either side of the House that will deny the 
proposition that in accordance with the letter of the Constitution this amend- 
ment may be proposed to the States for their adoption or rejection. The 
provision of the Constitution that confers the power of amendment, and 
which I do not propose to read, has but two limitations, as has been repeatedly 
remarked in this discussion. So far as the letter of the Constitution is con- 


cerned, except in reference to those two limitations, Congress has the right 
and the power to propose any amendment to be adopted or rejected by the 
States themselves. According to the letter of the Constitution we are gov- 
erned only by the two limitations found in the instrument itself. 

And the next question which presents itself is whether there are any other 
limitations in the Constitution, except the restrictions found in the article 
itself, to prevent Congress from proposing this amendment to the States. 

Mr. C. A. White : I understood the gentleman from Missouri [Mr. Rol- 
lins] to say that no person upon this side of the House has advocated the 
principle that the letter of the Constitution put a limitation upon the power 
of Congress to pass this amendment. I beg leave to remind him that in the 
few remarks which I had the honor to submit on Wednesday last I made 
that distinct proposition. I contended that the word " amendment " was a 
limitation of itself; that the amendment must relate to some clause or pro- 
vision already in the Constitution ; and that this proposition now under 
consideration, being to insert a separate and distinct clause in the Constitu- 
tion, and having no connection with any grant of power to be found in it, 
was a supplement to the Constitution and not an amendment; and that the 
very letter of the Constitution limited the power of Congress over the sub- 
ject of amendments to the delegation of powers to Congress to amend the 

Mr. Rollins of Missouri: My answer to the gentleman is, that all the 
amendments that have been made were open to the same objection. I 
was not so fortunate, Mr. Speaker, as to hear the gentleman's speech, nor 
have I had time to read it ; but in reference to the question of limitation I 
think that the best way to obtain light on the subject is to read what the Con- 
stitution itself says : 

The Congress, whenever two-thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall 
propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the Legislatures 
of two-thirds of the several States, shall call a convention for proposing amend- 
ments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of 
the Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three-fourths of the several 
States, or by conventions in three-fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode 
of ratification may be proposed by the Congress ; provided, that no amendment 
which may be made prior to the year 1808 shall in any manner affect the first and 
fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article ; and that no State, without 
its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate. 

The Constitution can be changed only by amendment, and according to 
the gentleman's theory we can add to it nothing, however good or desirable, 
unless there is already " some clause or provision in the Constitution " relat- 
ing to the subject proposed to be added. This I regard as absurd. 


Now, sir, I cannot for my life see, as my friend from Ohio sees, where there 
are any other limitations of the power of Congress, according to the letter 
of the instrument, than those which we find in the clause of the Constitution 
itself. The limitation is there according to the letter, and there alone ; and 
if there is any other limitation in reference to the power of Congress it must 
be outside of this article of the Constitution ; and the next question that I 
propose to suggest, in order to come to a correct conclusion on this subject, 
is whether there exists any other limitation of the power of Congress in pro- 
posing amendments to this instrument ? I assert that there is ; and I adopt 
the very excellent view suggested in the running debates by the gentleman 
from Massachusetts [Mr. Boutwell] in answer to the distinguished gentleman 
from Ohio [Mr. Pendleton], and that is that the limitation of amendment to 
this Constitution is found also in the very preamble to the instrument itself. 
I do not believe, sir, with my friend from Ohio [Mr. Cox], that we have a 
right to make any amendment whatever to this Constitution, that there is no 
limitation except the express one contained in the clause that I have just 
read. There are other limitations, and they are found, as I conceive, in the 
preamble preceding the Constitution itself. What is the preamble? 

We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, estab- 
lish justice, insure domestic tranquillity , provide for the common defense, promote 
the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our pos- 
terity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. 

Now, I do not believe that any amendment can be made to this instru- 
ment that has for its aim, or whose direct tendency would be, to destroy 
the very objects and purposes for which the Constitution was established. 
Therefore, sir, any amendment to this Constitution that would destroy " a 
more perfect union," that would fail to " establish justice," that would fail 
to " insure domestic tranquillity," that would fail to " provide for the com- 
mon defense," or to " promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings 
of liberty to ourselves and our posterity," is not an amendment that may 
be proposed by Congress, or may be adopted and ratified by the States; and 
every representative who votes must be a "law unto himself" whether any 
amendment proposed is in accordance with the Constitution. 

Mr. Cox: I desire to ask the gentleman a question. Who is to be the 
judge whether a proposed amendment comes within the scope of the pre- 
amble ? 

Mr. Rollins of Missouri: I will be the judge myself, so far as I may be 
called upon to vote for or against it. 

Mr. Cox: I would prefer, according to my peculiar logic, to allow the 
States themselves to be the judges. Therefore, I infinitely prefer the gentle- 


man's first proposition, that the power of amendment is not limited except 
by the terms of the clause of the Constitution on that subject. 

Mr. Rollins of Missouri : I will answer the gentleman, that so far as my 
action and my vote are concerned, my own judgment — and I presume so 
far as the vote of every other member in the House is concerned, his own 
judgment — must be the rule in reference to the question whether a pro- 
posed amendment comes within the scope of the preamble; and I presume 
that the States themselves must be the judges when an amendment is sub- 
mitted for their consideration and action. If three-fourths of the States 
adopt a proposed amendment, it becomes a part of the Constitution. But 
suppose the other fourth of them decline to adopt the amendment, what then ? 
If it is such an infringement of their rights, such a destruction of their lib- 
erties, such an interference with their domestic policy, that they regard them- 
selves justified in raising the standard of revolt and revolution in order to 
resist the amendment that the other States have adopted, I take it that 
each State itself would be the better judge as to the course that it would 
have a right to pursue. 

But, sir, it has been urged that this amendment is contrary to the spirit 
although not to the letter of the Constitution. Well, Mr. Speaker, I am a 
believer, too, in this doctrine that we must be guided by the spirit of the 
Constitution. I would violate neither its letter nor its spirit. But I confess, 
sir, that it is difficult for me to define or exactly to understand what is meant 
by the spirit of the Constitution. Perhaps it is like the passion that young 
people experience, and which is well described in the language of the young 
lover : 

'T is what we feel, but can't define, 
'T is what we know, but can't express. 

We all know that there are amendments that might be proposed, and which 
would be in strict accordance with the letter of that instrument, but which 
we should feel to be violative of its spirit. 

Sir, if you propose an amendment changing entirely the form of our Gov- 
ernment, creating a monarchy or despotism instead of a republic, I presume, 
although gentlemen might find in the Constitution an express warrant of law 
to do this thing, yet it would be against the spirit of that instrument. I pre- 
sume if an amendment were proposed to require one State to pay a much 
larger proportion of taxes than in accordance with its representation, al- 
though you might find a warrant for it, yet it would be against the spirit of 
the Constitution. I presume if you were to propose an amendment to estab- 
lish a state religion throughout the land, while the letter of the Constitution 
might not be against it, yet every man who favored religious toleration and 


who was against an established church would feel that the spirit ot the 
instrument had been violated. 

I believe then, sir, that this amendment is in accordance with the express 
letter of the Constitution; I believe that it is in accordance with the preamble 
of the Constitution ; I believe that it is in accordance with the true spirit, 
meaning, and intent of that instrument, and the objects and purposes for 
which it was framed by our forefathers, and that if all the States could be 
induced to adopt it, it would go far to strengthen the Government by pre- 
venting future dissension and cementing the bonds of the Union, on the 
preservation of which depend our strength, our security, our safety, our 
happiness, and the continued existence of free institutions on the American 

The only question left for me to decide, sir, is whether this is a measure 
that is expedient and that ought to be adopted. I believe in both its ex- 
pediency and its constitutionality. 

Now, Mr. Speaker, in making a few remarks on the other branch of the 
question, I want to put a few interrogatories to gentlemen who differ with 
me. Does any man in this House, does any intelligent man in any of the 
loyal States, believe that the institution of African slavery will survive this 
rebellion ? If there is such a man I choose to differ with him. I believe 
that, as has often been remarked here, the existence and continuance of 
human slavery are wholly and entirely incompatible with a state of civil war 
in the country. The rebellion instigated and carried on by slaveholders has 
been the death-knell of the institution ; and, believing this, shall we any 
longer rely upon the President's proclamations, which are doubtful in their 
policy and character ? Shall we rely upon the exercise of those extraordinary 
powers originating in a time of war ? or shall we not, like wise and prudent 
statesmen, come to the rescue at once, take it up, handle it, discuss it in a 
statesmanlike way, and adopt the true and only peaceful mode pointed out 
in the charter of our liberties for meeting and disposing of questions of this 
character ? 

Mr. Speaker, I have another remark to make in regard to the limitation 
in the fifth article of the Constitution. How did it happen that the framers 
of that instrument extended the limitation of power to two subjects only ? 
Why did they preserve the representation of the small States from amend- 
ment ? Why did they allow the African slave-trade to remain untouched 
only prior to 1808 ? I answer that, according to my reading and under- 
standing, it was because the great men who laid the foundations of civil 
government upon the American continent were essentially antislavery, 
North and South, and looking upon the institution of slavery as an evil 
they determined to check its growth ; hence in the Constitution they placed 
a limitation upon the African slave-trade, limiting it to the year 1808. So 
on the other subject of the representation of the small States. The small 


States represented in that convention, seeing the great inequality of author- 
ity and power given to them by that clause of the Constitution which ena- 
bled Rhode Island to exercise in the Senate of the United States as much 
power as New York or any other of the great States of the Union, and tena- 
cious of the power thus secured to them, insisted, and it was finally yielded 
to them, that upon this point the Constitution of the United States should 
remain unamended throughout all time. 

Now, I ask you the question, was it not easy to add, and why did not the 
framers of the Constitution add, to that clause that no amendment should 
be made changing or modifying the institution of slavery as it existed in any 
State of the Union ? Why was this not ingrafted upon the Constitution ? 
I have an answer satisfactory to myself on that subject. It was because 
the great men of that day, the men who framed this charter of human free- 
dom for the American people, were in heart and in principle hostile to the 
institution of slavery ; and although they did not take the responsibility of 
disposing of it, they accepted it as they found it; and the writings and 
teachings of the great men of the North and South justify me in claiming 
that they looked forward to the day when their posterity would finally, in 
some form or other, dispose of the institution which they themselves regarded 
as hurtful to the happiness and progress of the country. 

Hence I go a little further than my venerable friend from Missouri [Mr. 
King], though he and I are exactly in the same category upon this ques- 
tion. I express my belief that the limitation preventing the abolition of 
slavery in the States by Congress was not placed in the Constitution because 
of a desire to leave that an open question, but because of hoping and be- 
lieving that at a distant day in the history of our country, when there would 
be a higher and more Christian-like civilization, a better view of this sub- 
ject, then we, their posterity, might have the power, which they gave to us 
in the instrument itself, to take hold of the question and dispose of it in 
some fair, right, and proper way. Such is my belief; whether it is well 
founded or not is another thing. They regarded the institution as an evil, 
and no such limitation could have been incorporated into the Constitution 
by the convention which framed that instrument. They regarded it as an 
evil to be disposed of one day or another, and they left the door open to 
those who were to come after them, for the express purpose of enabling 
them, when a good opportunity offered, to do the very thing which they 
failed to do themselves. 

And this accords precisely with the opinion of the Hon. A. H. Stephens 
of Georgia, Vice-President of the Confederate States. In his celebrated 
speech made after the adoption of the Montgomery Constitution, he says : 

African slavery as it exists among us was the immediate cause of the late 
rupture and present revolution. The prevailing ideas entertained by most of the 


leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old Constitution were that 
the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature ; that it was 
wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically. It was an evil they knew 
not well how to deal with, but the general opinion of the men of that day was 
that somehow or other in the order of Providence the institution would be evanes- 
cent, and pass away. This idea, though not incorporated in the Constitution, 
was the prevailing idea at the time. 

Mr. Speaker, every man, however humble he may be, has some personal 
pride in the opinions he may entertain upon a great question of this sort. 
I am not free from considerations of that kind, and when I hear my friends 
over the way upon the Republican side of the House — and I know I have 
a great many friends there — intimate that because a man cannot vote with 
them and me upon this amendment he sympathizes with the rebellion, or is 
an apologist for the rebellion or for slavery, I confess that I cannot indorse 
either the good taste or the propriety of such imputations. Such remarks 
have been applied to me elsewhere than here, and yet I know they have 
not fitted my case, because I take this occasion to state my opinion — an 
opinion I have entertained for twenty-five years — that the institution of 
African slavery cannot be defended either upon moral or religious grounds, 
or upon principles of natural right or political economy. 

I am a believer in the Declaration of Independence, wherein it is asserted 
that " all men are created equal." I believe that when it says "all men" 
it means every man who was created in the " image of his Maker " and 
walks on God's footstool, without regard to race, color, or any other acci- 
dental circumstances by which he may be surrounded. I know that astute 
politicians, crafty and ambitious men, in various periods of the Republic 
have tried to draw a distinction between this man and that man because he 
happened to have a differently colored skin ; to show that the Declaration 
was applicable to white men only, and not to the black man, the red man, 
or any other than the white man. That the word " all " meant a part, not 
"all"! But, sir, I believe that general clause in the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence was meant by the immortal man who penned it, and by the im- 
mortal men who signed it, and by a large majority of the great men of that 
day, North and South, to assert the grand principle, founded in the rights of 
man, founded in reason, and in strict accordance with the law of morality 
and of the Divine will, that " all men are created equal," without distinc- 
tion of race or of color. And although our ancestors failed to apply the 
principle, although they were derelict in duty by not living up to the great 
enunciation of principles which they made to the world and mankind, it is 
no proof to my mind that they did not mean exactly what I say they meant 
in the expression to which I have referred. 


Mr. Speaker, all these considerations are influencing me in the very vote 
that I shall give upon this amendment ; but I desire to say that my ex- 
perience upon the subject of slavery has been quite singular and diversified. 
An antislavery man in sentiment, and yet heretofore a large owner of slaves 
myself, — not now, however, — not exactly with my consent, but with or 
without my consent, I learned from a telegram a morning or two ago, 
that the convention recently assembled in my State adopted an amend- 
ment to our present State Constitution for the immediate emancipation 
of all the slaves in the State. I am no longer the owner of a slave, and I 
thank God for it. Although I think this subject might have been disposed 
of in a better way, causing less inconvenience to our people and doing in 
fact the slave no harm, I make no complaint of the convention for that act ; 
and although there is no clause of compensation, I very gracefully yield to 
the public sentiment and to the action of this distinguished body of men 
called in my State to consider its welfare. If the giving up of my slaves 
without complaint shall be a contribution upon my part to promote the 
public good, to uphold the Constitution of the United States, to restore 
peace and preserve this Union, if I had owned a thousand slaves they would 
most cheerfully have been given up. I say with all my heart, let them go, 
but let them not go without a sense of feeling and a proper regard on my 
part for the future of themselves and their offspring ! I say, let them go, 
and let them enjoy all the privileges consistent with sound policy and that 
freedom which has been vouchsafed to them ! Let them go; and, sir, there 
is no man in this House or in this nation who feels a deeper interest in 
their comfort, in their happiness, in their elevation, than I do, and in the 
comfort and welfare of their children and their children's children for all 
time to come! I say again, sir, let them go, and may the blessing of God 
rest upon them ! 

[Here the hammer fell, the hour having expired.] 

Mr. Ashlev: I ask that the gentleman have leave to continue his re- 

By unanimous consent the leave was granted. 

Mr. Rollins of Missouri : As I have said, my experience in relation to 
this question of slavery has been singular and somewhat diversified. Why, 
sir, I remember that seventeen years ago, when I was a member of that 
proud, honorable, and patriotic party, the old Whig party of the country, 
and when I was quite a young man, my friends placed me in the responsi- 
ble position of candidate for the high office of Governor of my State, and 
that I found as my competitor upon that occasion my venerable and hon- 
orable friend who occupies a seat on my left [Mr. King]. We traversed 


our great State from one corner to the other; we met time and again upon 
the hustings; he was a friend of General Cass, and I was a Whig and the 
friend of General Taylor; and he must pardon me upon this occasion — and 
especially as we are now together — if I bring to view a single reminiscence. 
One of his arguments, I remember, was that the elevation of General Tay- 
lor to the office of President and the election of myself to the office of Gov- 
ernor would be dangerous to the institution of slavery. I, a Kentuckian by 
birth, supporting a large slave-owner for the Presidency, and myself a large 
slave-owner, combated that view as best I could in opposition to my vener- 
able friend. I am happy, however, to know that on this occasion we meet, 
and that hereafter there is to be no further controversy between him and 
me upon this question. 

I remember, also, that as late as 1857, when again my political friends, 
regarding me far too highly, did me the honor of placing their standard 
once more in my hands in candidacy for the highest office in the gift of the 
people of my State, I found myself confronted by a gentleman who was born 
in New York, able and talented, and never the owner of a slave ; but through- 
out that entire canvass the burden of his " talk " against me was that it would 
never do to elect me, and that if they did, in some way or other the insti- 
tution of slavery would suffer at my hands in the State of Missouri; and 
although I think to-day that I was legally elected, after the old Democracy 
had figured some six or eight weeks, the election being over, they brought out 
a majority against me of two hundred and thirty on a vole of 100,000 ! 

But this is not the whole of my personal experience upon this subject. 
When first I had the honor of being a candidate for a seat upon this floor in 
i860, I met as my competitor a very worthy and distinguished gentleman 
who now occupies a seat in the other end of the Capitol, a man of exalted 
talent and ability and a high order of patriotism, who is my personal friend 
and who, I am gratified to see, fills his place ably and gracefully; but I re- 
member that it was the same old story with him as with my venerable friend 
here [Mr. King] and the other gentleman to whom I have alluded, that it 
would not do to send me here even, because in some way or other I might 
be detrimental to the institution of slavery in my State. I am happy, how- 
ever, to say that that distinguished gentleman and myself will no longer have 
any controversy upon that point. 

We are together so far as this amendment is concerned. We take now 
much the same view of this important question, the only difference being 
that he has gone far ahead of me in any view I entertain or action I expect 
to take in the matter. It will never do, in the day of civil war and revolu- 
tion, to be excusing one's self for inconsistency. Men change every day. 
Read the inaugural address of President Lincoln ; read the diplomatic cor- 
respondence of the distinguished Secretary of State ; read your own speeches 


of two or three years back, and you will see how changes have taken place. 
Read my speeches, and you will find me preaching a short time ago one doc- 
trine and now preaching another. I am proud that a man has the right to 
change ; I am gratified that I am not too obstinate to change ; I am glad 
that additional light shines upon the darkened intellect to enable us to 
change our opinions when we find that we are wrong, and hope all of us 
have sufficient regard for the truth to embrace it when we see it. Change 
is a law of nature. It is written on our physical organization, on our moral 
organization, on our mental constitutions. If there were no right to change, 
change morally especially, what in the name of God would become of many 
of the gentlemen on both sides of this House ? There is an old adage 
that says, " Wise men sometimes change, fools never do." Sir, the pecu- 
liar friends of slavery have controlled the Government for much the greater 
part of the time since its establishment; and but for their own wickedness 
and folly might have saved the institution and had their full share in its man- 
agement for many years to come. If they have lost the political control, 
all are blameless save themselves. 

But yesterday, the word of Caesar might 

Have stood against the world : now lies he there, 

And none so poor to do him reverence. 

Mr. Speaker, I wish to state in a very general way some other proposi- 
tions. Let us dispose of this question now, now. I have signified that I 
would be willing to dispose of it in another way. If Jefferson Davis & Co. 
would come back to this hall to-morrow and say, " We were wrong ; we 
ask pardon ; we lay down our arms ; we yet remember the blessings that we 
have thrown away; we want that free Constitution which we have been de- 
stroying ; we want to come back to you " — for the sake of peace, for the 
sake of running no more risk in regard to this slave question, I would say, 
" Let them come in," and I would go far in making terms with them, much 
farther than my friends from Missouri over there [Mr. McClurg and Mr. 
Loan]. But we cannot have our will on this subject. The President of the 
so-called Confederate States, and those who act with him, are not going to 
put themselves in that position. On the contrary, we have been told by 
the rebel leaders that if a blank sheet of paper were furnished to them on 
which to write their own terms they would not come back. They have told 
us that they started out for separation, and that they mean to exhaust all 
the energies and resources of the country, if necessary, to accomplish that 
object. On the other hand, we started out for the purpose of preserving 
the Constitution and the Union — let that effort lead us where it might, de- 
stroy whomever and whatever it might — if we had the moral, the physical, 
and the intellectual power to do the work of putting down this rebellion and 



saving this Union and Government from destruction. And while I rejoice 
at any movement that looks to an honorable peace and a restored Gov- 
ernment, I am for fighting it out " on that line " to-day. Not until every 
germ of patriotism shall have withered and rotted in the public heart ; not 
until the public sense of the nation shall be that the thing cannot be accom- 
plished, will I be for abating one jot or tittle of the efforts of the nation 
to annihilate the rebellion, restore the supremacy of the Constitution, and 
preserve the Union of these States and republican liberty on this continent 
through all time to come. 

Mr. Speaker, the American sentiment is decidedly antislavery ; and that 
is another consideration why I am willing to vote for this amendment. We 
never can have an entire peace in this country so long as the institution of 
slavery remains as one of the recognized institutions of the country. It 
occurs to me that the surest way to obtain peace is to dispose of the institu- 
tion now. From whatever cause, whether it is from Northern intermeddling, 
if you so call it, — and there has been far too much of that, — or from South- 
ern arrogance and dictation and agitation, whether from the one cause or the 
other, or both, slavery will always be a disturbing element ! There will be 
no peace, there will be no perfect Union in this country until some way or 
other we shall have disposed of slavery. You cannot smother moral convic- 
tions. And so long as the general Government is connected with slavery or 
associated witli it in any way, and the great tide of emigration flows into the 
South, carrying new ideas of human rights, this institution will be a disturb- 
ing element, and we shall have continued agitation until in some manner this 
question is disposed of. I have therefore brought myself up to the point. 
We may as well unsheathe the sword and cut the Gordian knot. 

I said, Mr. Speaker, that the American public sentiment is antislavery. 
I say now from my own experience that the public sentiment of the Southern 
people is antislavery. And I assert a proposition that may startle some 
gentlemen, but which I believe in my heart to be true, that to-day the State 
of South Carolina is antislavery. I take South Carolina as an example, 
because she is the most " wayward" of all the " sisters," because she has been 
hitherto always wrong and never right, and especially on this question; I 
take her, because on her this institution has left its deepest and sharpest im- 
press. I believe, in regard to the people of that State, that if this question of 
slavery in all its bearings and in all its phases could be thoroughly discussed 
and presented in an intelligent and patriotic way, — by sending my honorable 
friend from Maryland [Mr. H. W. Davis] with his gift of argument and elo- 
quence to combat the proudest intellects of that State — I believe, as God 
is my judge, that after twelve months' or even six months' discussion the 
majority of the people of South Carolina would vote to rid themselves of this 
institution of slavery. And as in South Carolina so would it be in other 


And how do I arrive at this conclusion ? I look at the history of events 
in my own State of Missouri. Four years ago, a man who has now gone to 

The undiscovered country, from whose bourne 
No traveler returns, 

the late governor of that State, Claiborne Jackson, was elected by an over- 
whelming majority upon this very question, and almost upon this question 
alone. Four years have expired ; four years of rebellion, four years of civil 
war, four years of ruin and desolation and blood and misery. All these things 
have occurred, and the people believe, whether correctly or not, that they are 
all in some way or another connected with this institution of slavery. And 
what has been the result ? The other day a gentleman for whom I did not 
vote, but who has my highest respect and in whose patriotism I have every 
confidence, — one who I trust will be equal to the great occasion before him; 
a radical man, far more radical than I am or expect to be, radical in all his 
theories of this disturbing question before us, — was elected governor of that 
State by the votes of a larger majority than that which was cast four years 
ago for Claiborne F. Jackson. What does that prove ? I believe that there 
may have been some intimidation, some military interference. But I tell 
you, sir, that I am convinced that this change has resulted from the delib- 
erate and earnest convictions of the honest masses of the people of that State, 
slave-owners and non-slave-owners, that the institution of slavery is wrong 
and has been to some extent the cause of all our trials, and that they are in 
favor of disposing of it as early as practicable. 

The State convention of Missouri assembled a few days since to revise 
the State Constitution. More than two years ago an ordinance of emanci- 
pation had been adopted, allowing the institution to stand until the 4th of 
July, 1870, and in my view that ought to have been satisfactory. Yet the 
people of Missouri were not content with it. They met in convention three 
days ago and, if the telegraph is correct, almost the very first act of that con- 
vention, after organizing, was, by a vote of 60 to 4, to wipe out the institu- 
tion of African slavery from the soil of Missouri. 

It is an old adage that " he is a fool who learns nothing from experience, 
but he is the greatest of fools who will not profit by his own experience" I 
have learned a little — not much, but I am progressing. I never expect — 
perhaps I am not wise enough, or perhaps I am too timid or too slow — I 
do not expect to get quite up to the standard of my venerable friend from 
Pennsylvania [Mr. Stevens], or my eloquent friend from Maryland [Mr. H. 
W. Davis]. But I will endeavor to keep pace with my own convictions, 
having in view always the restoration of the Union, the preservation of the 
Constitution and of republican liberty under free institutions upon the Ameri- 
can continent. Sir, I have a firm conviction that there is such a thing as 
the " logic of events." 


May I say a word or two to my friends from Kentucky ? My lifelong 
friend who sits on my left, who addressed the House the other day [Mr. Clay], 
in the remarks that I understood him to make, spoke of the slaves in Ken- 
tucky being worth $ 1 50,000,000 before the rebellion, and perhaps as much now. 
Sir, put upon the block to-day, what would all the slaves in North America 
sell for ? Does he expect, after all to which I have referred, after what he 
has seen, does the gentleman expect that the institution of slavery is to re- 
main anywhere safe for any length of time ? If he does, if my other friends 
from Kentucky expect that, I have only to say that upon that one question 
I am wiser than they. I have passed through this sea of troubles, thank God! 
I breathe freer and easier to-day in consequence of having got through it, 
and I tell them now, that without some obstacle in the Constitution of the 
State of Kentucky, in less than two years from the day that I am making 
these poor remarks in the American Congress, Kentucky will be a free State 
without any regard to the views gentlemen may express here on this side of 
this hall. 

And, sir, if ever a set of people made a mistake on earth, it was the men 
of Kentucky, by whom I was somewhat governed myself, when, three years 
ago, they rejected the offer of the President of the United States, who, wiser 
than we were, seeing the difficulties before us, but seeing the bow of promise 
set in the sky and knowing what was to come, proposed to us to sweep the 
institution of slavery from the border States, offering the assistance of the 
United States to aid in compensating the loyal men of those States for their 
losses in labor and property. I say that the unwisest of all acts, so far as 
the border States were concerned, was the rejection of this liberal offer from 
the Executive of the United States. I voted for the proposition at first, then 
unwisely changed my ground, showing the versatility of man, and should, 
perhaps, if it had come to a final vote, have opposed it because my constit- 
uents were likely to be offended by the passage of such a law. They are 
now convinced, when their slaves are gone and their pockets are empty, that 
I was right in the first place and they were wrong. I have read in the 
papers of this morning that the Legislature of Kentucky, after electing that 
distinguished and able man, James Guthrie, to the Senate of the United 
States, has passed a resolution in favor of emancipation " with the consent 
of the owners, and with compensation." 

But where is compensation to come from ? I have a right to feel some- 
thing on this subject, for I am called upon to ask myself where is compensa- 
tion to come from ? Not out of the coffers of the national Treasury. Why, 
the Government will not even pay for the gallant soldiers whom I and others 
have furnished for its army, although the law, as I understand, expressly pro- 
vides for compensation to loyal owners. While I have furnished ten sol- 
diers, brave soldiers, — I hope they are doing good service for the cause, — 


I have never asked for any compensation. I do not urge my claim for com- 
pensation; but when Uncle Sam comes along I shall consider whether to 
take it or not. I will ask my friend from Kentucky [Mr. Clay], — I will not 
call him " my venerable friend," because he and I sat on the same bench at 
school when we were boys together, — does he think that the people of 
Kentucky will ever vote to tax themselves to pay him and others for their 
slaves? Does he not know that the day for compensation is past? Will 
he have the men of Kentucky go through all the trouble and anxiety that 
I have passed through, simply to preserve that which cannot in the nature 
of things be preserved more than a few short years longer ? I would do my 
full duty toward my old State ; but how else can I do it than by giving her 
noble and patriotic men the benefit of my own experience? I think that 
the best way to aid and succor my proud old mother is to adopt this amend- 

If it were done, when 't is done, then 't were well 
It were done quickly. 

Sir, she and her people rank in my affections next to my own proud adopted 
commonwealth. Sir, I honor Kentucky for the long list of illustrious names 
of the living and of the dead, and for their great actions, in peace and in war, 
that illumine the pages of her eventful history. I would do nothing to wound 
the spirit of Kentucky. No, sir; no. In the language of one of her most 
gifted and patriotic sons, " Not a blade of grass should wither forever on her 
green and fertile fields, if it remained until by some act of mine dishonor and 
shame should be brought nigh unto her habitation." There is not a State in 
this Union, nor any people of the Union, for whom I would make greater 
sacrifices than I would for the State of Kentucky. Especially do I sympa- 
thize with my friend to whom I have referred, because he and I were edu- 
cated in the same social and political school and have in many respects kindred 
sympathies. I have the highest confidence in his loyalty, in his honor, and 
in his patriotism, however much we may differ on some questions. I wish 
that I could aid him and men similarly situated. But I cannot. This is 
not because of any hostility to Kentucky or any hostility to the institution of 
slavery. I am compelled to act thus in view of the great results that, in 
my opinion, are to spring from the adoption of this amendment. I shall vote 
for it in order to help the old State of Kentucky, to help the South, but above 
all to help the entire Union to arrive at a final adjustment of the terrible 
agitation and conflict now prevailing. 

Mr. Speaker, I regret that the action of our ancestors in reference to slavery 

inflicted this evil upon us. And when I speak of our ancestors, I mean those 

of Plymouth Rock and those of James River. Yet, while in this House and 

in the other end of this Capitol, I have heard attacks on the Pilgrim Fathers, 



and while I saw lately a disreputable statement coming from an American 
Senator concerning the early settlers of Virginia, yet I have no sympathy with 
the spirit that prompts such efforts. Doubtless there were bad men as well 
as honest and good men among the original settlers of both the northern and 
the southern sections of our country. Through the promptings of cupidity 
and avarice, slavery was first engrafted on our institutions. Could our an- 
cestors who countenanced it in its establishment witness the scenes of the 
present time they would doubtless feel that they committed an unpardonable 
sin. And for this sin the North and the South are equally responsible ; the 
people of both sections were engaged in the infamous traffic, and we are this 
day gathering the bitter fruits of their iniquity. It is thus that 

Even-handed justice 
Commends the ingredients of our poisoned chalice 
To our own lips ; 

or, as the same great master expresses it, 

That we but teach 
Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return 
To plague the inventor. 

The gentleman from New York [Mr. Fernando Wood] said the other day 
that slavery was a blessing to the slave. I admit that it has turned out to 
be so, yet this was by accident only. The Africans were brought from their 
native wilds in violation of every law of God and humanity ; but when I 
compare the present condition of the negro in this country with his situation 
in his native land, I am compelled to admit that the institution of slavery has 
had a beneficial influence upon his moral, intellectual, and physical condition. 
I think that the negro of the United States is higher in the scale of humanity 
than the barbarian of Africa. Thus out of a great wrong has resulted a great 
good — the elevation and advancement of this large and unfortunate nation. 
The consoling reflections will ever be, that this downtrodden race, torn by vio- 
lence from their native country for the sake of gain, after passing for centuries 
through a weary pilgrimage of bondage, are at last admitted into the temple 
of freedom, with a fair prospect of enjoying all the blessings that education, 
true religion, and civilization confer upon man; and through them it may be 
at last that these blessings shall be sent back to Africa, and that continent 
over which the dark cloud of ignorance and superstition has so long hovered 
be illumined by the same bright sun that has thrown its effulgent rays over 
other portions of the habitable globe. And in all this, through the eye of 
faith, we may discern the hand of an all-wise and inscrutable Providence ; 
for there is a 

Divinity that shapes our ends 
Rough-hew them how we will. 


Mr. Speaker, when the framers of the American Constitution in 1787 
formed that instrument they committed a great mistake in not disposing 
finally and forever of the institution of slavery. If the venerable man whose 
" counterfeit presentment " [pointing to the portrait of Washington] hangs 
upon the walls of this Representative Chamber could come from the sacred 
spot of Mount Vernon, which holds his ashes, and the question were put to 
him, "Would you, as president of that convention, and the noble men who 
composed that body, now dispose gradually and directly of the institution of 
slavery upon this continent ? " is there a man who hears my voice that can 
doubt what would be the answer of the Father of his Country ? It was not 
because they were not antislavery, but because they were afraid to deal 
with slavery. They had other delicate and important questions to settle 
that prevented them from disposing of that institution. They were laying 
deeply upon this continent the foundation of a temple that was to last for- 
ever — a temple of liberty that was to shield not only themselves, but their 
posterity, and where men in all time to come should take refuge. And they 
did not wish, as I have said I did not wish, to endanger that structure, to 
do anything that would cause it to totter and fall. They did not wish to 
fail in the grand object that they had in view. Hence they let the minor sub- 
ject of slavery go over to other times and other men. It has therefore now 
come down to us. Mr. Speaker, I look ahead into our history for fifty years 
to come, and I ask the question, suppose the institution of slavery is to re- 
main interwoven in our mechanism of government, and our country is again, 
on account of it, to pass through the bloody trials that now cover our land 
with mourning and sorrow, and have piled upon us a debt that will tax 
the energies and wring the sinews of our posterity to pay ; do you think, sir, 
that our children will not censure us and charge us with committing a mis- 
take in that we did not during the revolution of these times wipe out forever 
this disturbing and dangerous element in our political system ? 

Again, Mr. Speaker, I refer to the State of Kentucky. She was admitted 
into the Union in 1799. At that time there were not exceeding twelve thou- 
sand slaves in the State. She is the oldest daughter in the family of States. 
She was the first that was admitted after the adoption of the Federal Constitu- 
tion. The great men of Kentucky of that day, proud and venerable names, 
advocated the propriety of a system of gradual emancipation. Will my friend 
from the Maysville district [Mr. Wadsworth], will my friend from the Louis- 
ville district [Mr. Mallory], will any of my friends who oppose this amend- 
ment declare it would not have been a great boon if the original Constitu- 
tion of Kentucky had disposed of slavery forever ? Will my very excellent 
friend [Mr. Clay] say that it would not have been better for his distinguished 
and venerable father, who was a member of the convention that framed 
the first Constitution of Kentucky — would it not have been better for his im- 


mediate ancestors to have met firmly the question at that day, and thus to 
have relieved the State from slavery, and the people of that noble common- 
wealth from the terrible sorrows that have since fallen upon them ? In 
1803 President Jefferson purchased from France the Louisiana territory ex- 
tending from the Balize to the mouth of the Columbia River, embracing a 
magnificent empire. At that time there were only about thirty thousand 
African slaves held in bondage in that vast territory. Will any enlightened 
man of this period say that the best interests of our whole country would 
not have been greatly promoted had the Government paid the owners for 
those few slaves and excluded the institution forever thereafter from that re- 
gion ? We should thus have avoided the contest about the introduction of 
slavery into the Territories. We should have been spared the bloody 
strife in Kansas ; and most probably this rebellion, with all its terrible 
consequences, never would have disgraced our hitherto happy country. 

I come now to speak a word in reference to my own State of Missouri. 
She came into the Union in the midst, as it were, of a revolution. For the 
purpose only of having a few thousand slaves there, the whole continent 
shook with the agitation of the " Missouri question." We were fighting for 
the privilege of holding a few slaves in bondage in that great State. In this 
miserable struggle we forgot the paramount good. Does my friend [Mr. 
Hall] from the district adjoining the one that I represent — does any man upon 
this floor tell me that it would not have been better for Missouri at once, in 
1820, to have passed an ordinance for the gradual or immediate emancipa- 
tion of her slaves, thus driving the institution beyond her boundaries ? If 
there is such a man he is not as enlightened on the subject to-day as I believe 
I am; he has not learned as much as I think I have learned. 

Why. sir, what is Missouri to-day, and what would she have been if there 
had been incorporated at that time into her organic law an ordinance de- 
claring the institution of slavery forever abolished within her limits ? We 
should have been as Ohio, and Illinois, and Iowa. We should have been 
rid of this curse, which, like Banquo's ghost, is ever reappearing, the curse 
of slavery, this raw head and bloody bones; and we should have been clear 
of all these troubles. We should have had no bands of guerrillas watering 
the soil of our States with the blood of our peaceful citizens. We should 
have had no armed bodies of men stationed on all our borders to keep the 
peace. Look at Illinois just across the Father of Waters. She came into 
the Union in 1818, two years before Missouri, and with less population, 
fewer mineral resources, not so many rivers nor such facilities for commerce, 
yet she has four thousand miles of railroad while Missouri has only twelve 
hundred. Illinois has a prosperous, happy, and peaceful population of two 
millions, while we have only half this number, and our people are leaving in 
every direction, seeking homes in the Territories in the distant mountains. 


in South America, in Mexico, in Illinois — flying away from the horrible 
specter of this infernal rebellion. Why is this ? I know of but one real, 
substantial, specific reason, and that is that the framers of the Missouri Con- 
stitution allowed slavery to remain, while Illinois was made forever free by 
the Ordinance of 1787, which was penned by Thomas Jefferson, a son of 
Virginia, and by which Virginia ceded an empire within itself [the North- 
west Territory] to the United States. 

I have been looking up for light from above, and I begin to see it streak- 
ing along the horizon, however it may be with other gentlemen in this 

A word or two more and I will relieve the attention of the House. If this 
were a time of profound peace, and this amendment were proposed, I should 
not vote for it, and on the score of expediency. Why? Because if we had 
remained in a state of profound peace the very proposal to submit this 
amendment to the States would have disturbed the public tranquillity, and 
therefore I would let it alone. But now I vote for it in order to restore the 
public tranquillity, believing that this rebellion having been set on foot, and 
civil war raging in the country, you cannot have entire tranquillity without 
a removal of the cause of disturbance. Now, one gentleman intimated yes- 
terday that if we pass the amendment it will induce emancipation on the 
part of the Southern States themselves. But I ask him, are they likely to be 
governed by any disposition we may make of this question in this House ? 
Not at all. Whenever they are pressed to the wall; whenever our armies shall 
have planted our standard in every one of their States; when their principal 
cities shall have been taken; when they are in articulo mortis, it may be, as a 
dernier ressorl, that they may strike the shackles from the limbs of the slaves 
they now hold. But they will never be governed by any action we may take 
upon this or any other question ; never. Whenever they find it for their in- 
terest to do it they will do it, and not before. 

One other remark. Missouri has in advance adopted this amendment. 
Now, allow me, although not much given to prophecy, being neither a prophet 
nor a son of a prophet, to make one other prediction upon this floor to-day. 
It is that if this constitutional amendment be adopted by this House, — or 
whether it be adopted by this House or not, it will be adopted by the Con- 
gress that is immediately to succeed this, in less than ninety days from the 
time of our adjournment, — it will become the prevailing sentiment, and will 
be adopted not alone by the North but by every Southern State. I do not 
doubt it. How? By the masses of the people, as the masses of the people 
of Missouri have adopted it there. How? When the poor and humble 
farmers and mechanics of the States of Alabama and Mississippi shall have 
left the bloody trials which they are now enduring to tear down this temple 
of human liberty ; when they shall return perhaps to their desolated homes ; 


when they shall behold once more and hug to their bosoms the wives and 
children whom they love, in poverty and in rags ; when they shall go, per- 
haps minus an arm, or an eye, or a leg, and in poverty, to those who are de- 
pendent upon them for support in life — taught by experience, as I have been 
taught by experience, they will ask of themselves the question, "Why all this? 
What have we been fighting for ? " They will bring to mind the sweet mem- 
ories of other days. They will remember the peaceful and happy homes 
which they were induced to leave, and which they enjoyed under the benign 
influence of wholesome and liberal laws passed here, and they will inquire, 
" By what sophistry, by what appeal, by what force, by what maddening in- 
fluence is it that we have been induced to enter into this terrible rebellion ? 
Not to promote any interest of wife and children, but to destroy all the bless- 
ings vouchsafed to us and to them by a free government and equitable laws." 
And they will further ask, " Who has been the author of my misfortunes, and 
the ruin of my family, my all ? " Sir, they will point to those who hold the 
power at Richmond; they will direct their vengeance against them; and 
Davis and his ambitious crew, as I have said upon a former occasion, will 
like Actaeon of old be in the end destroyed by their own friends. 

I do not doubt this. The masses of the people of the South have no special 
interest in, nor sympathy with, the institution of slavery. They never had. 
The number of slaveholders is comparatively small, and whenever you begin 
to drive in the wedge and exemplify the dividing line between those whose 
moral convictions are that slavery is right, and who as regards property in- 
terest are identified and associated with it, and on the other hand that great 
volume of humanity who deny the moral right of slavery and have no interest 
whatever in it, I tell you the result will be as ten to one against the institu- 
tion. And it is in this way that in Georgia, in Arkansas, and at last even in 
South Carolina, the very amendment we propose to adopt here to-day will re- 
ceive the sanction of the good judgment of the people. I judge from what I 
have seen in my own State ; I judge from the fact that only a few years ago men 
who owned no slaves (but who were controlled by that power) were nearly 
crazy upon the subject for fear I would do something to set my own slaves 
free. And now they are equally offended with me because I happen to be 
found in the unfortunate category of owners of slaves ! Southern public sen- 
timent, Northern public sentiment, American public sentiment, and I may 
add the sentiment of the civilized world, now, as from the beginning, from 
the very day of the adoption and ratification of the Constitution, deny the 
humanity, the Christianity, and the expediency of the longer continuance of 
the institution of slavery among us. What has Great Britain done ? What 
has France done ? What has Russia done ? Everywhere, even in the des- 
potic governments of the Old World, we find them getting rid of and abolish- 
ing the institution of slavery. And shall free America lag in a contest, and 


hesitate now when the question is that of liberty and when it may be reached 
according to all the forms of law under our Constitution ? Sir, 

There is a tide in the affairs of men 

Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune ; 

Omitted, all the voyage of their life 

Is bound in shallows and in miseries. 

And this is equally true of nations. 

Now, Mr. Speaker, one more reflection and I have done. Gentlemen seem 
to think that the adoption of this amendment is going to lead to some other 
and dangerous innovations. Sir, I rely upon the conservative balance-wheel 
of my friend from Vermont [Mr. Morrill] and others like him to keep his 
party friends from going too far. My friend from the Louisville district [Mr. 
Mallory] tells us that when a movement is once started it is difficult to stop 
it. I do not anticipate the evils that some gentlemen upon this side of the 
House seem to fear. I rely upon the good sense and sound judgment of the 
people of all the States. I believe, as much as I believe anything, that the 
permanent and continued existence of our free institutions is dependent upon 
the preservation of that beautiful harmony that exists between the powers 
of the States and of the general Government. I want to see no entrench- 
ment, further than is absolutely necessary to preserve the whole machine, 
either by the general Government upon the rightful, constitutional powers 
of the States, or on the part of the States upon the rightful and constitutional 
powers of the general Government. Not only the harmony and beauty, but 
the very strength of our political system consists in the preservation of both ; and, 
although it is frequently ascribed to gentlemen upon the other side of the 
House, I do not believe that it is their purpose to use these vast centralized 
powers of a great consolidated Government with a view of oppressing the 
people of any one of the States. Any oppression that the people of the 
South now undergo is the effect of their own false teaching and conduct; 
and whether that oppression shall continue, whether their section shall be still 
further desolated, whether their towns and cities shall be still further sacked 
and burned, whether their property shall be still further taken, depends not 
upon us, not upon the general Government, but it depends upon the people 
of the Southern States themselves. I would rely even on the liberality, the 
sound judgment, and the good faith of my friend from Ohio [Mr. Ashley]. 
Let these men who have rebelled without cause and without excuse come 
back, and rely upon him and the gentleman from Vermont to do them full 
and ample justice and to treat them liberally and in the spirit of broad and 
general philanthropy; and I feel that they will not be disappointed. 

One word more (for the field still opens) to my Democratic friends. I 
have the good or the bad fortune of being rather in the middle of the 


House, and not exactly identified in my theories with anybody. I have 
been a party by myself pretty much all the time I have been here ; but, 
thank God ! I have the good opinion of myself to believe that I have been 
a patriot all the time, that I have had my eye on the main question, and 
that I have been working to the great point of saving my country and its 
free institutions from wreck. As to partisan considerations, does any man 
ever expect to make anything further politically out of the slavery question ? 
Sir, I have heard hardly an argument upon this side of the House that 
has not contained this remarkable expression : " While, Mr. Speaker, I am 
not an apologist for the institution of slavery " ; and if I were to take a vote 
to-day on this side of the House, with the exception of a half-dozen headed 
by the honorable gentleman from New York [Mr. Fernando Wood], I be- 
lieve that every one of you would indorse the general antislavery remarks 
that I have made here to-day. I believe that the very eloquent and 
distinguished gentleman from the Cincinnati district [Mr. Pendleton], for 
whose personal character I have the highest respect, as well as for his pa- 
triotism and his loyalty, is against the institution of slavery; he would not 
plant it in my State if it were not there; he would not plant it in Ohio ; he 
would not plant it on this continent ; he does not regard it as an institution 
just in itself and productive of good results, and I believe that is the opinion 
of nine-tenths of the gentlemen upon this side of the House. 

Why not, then, by adopting this amendment, submit the matter to the 
good sense and patriotism of the American people — the people of all the 
States. Why not cut this Gordian knot ? Why not dispose at once of this 
distracting question ? We never can have tranquillity and peace so long as 
the question remains in the form in which it now exists. 

[Here the hammer fell, another hour having expired.] 
Mr. Ashley : I ask that the time of the gentleman from Missouri be still 
further extended. 

There was no objection. 

Mr. Rollins of Missouri : Mr. Speaker, I have but one other thought to 
express, and I pledge the House that I will then conclude these remarks; 
not, however, without thanking everybody here for the great and unusual 
courtesy that has been extended to me, as well as for the attentive hear- 
ing that I have received alike from the House and from these crowded 
galleries. Mr. Speaker, if we can get through this rebellion completely and 
satisfactorily ; if we can steer safely between Charybdis on the one side and 
Scylla on the other; if we survive the storm and the strife ; if we can march 
safely through the dark and dreary wilderness of rebellion and civil war, 
and if we can come out of it with the American Union as formed by Wash- 


ington and his compatriots ; if we can come out of it with our free and 
matchless Constitution maintained substantially in all its parts; if we can 
come out of it and still boast of our American nationality ; if we can come 
out of it with the farther boast that, though we have passed through these 
great trials, we have not only saved our Constitution and Union but we have 
caused the sun of freedom to shine on an additional four millions of human 
beings; and if the old ship can once more be righted, and set sail on calmer 
seas, smooth and tranquil, where is the man who feels a just pride of coun- 
try and who cannot realize the great influence which the American Repub- 
lic with freer institutions and a broader Christian civilization shall exert on 
downtrodden humanity in every land and beyond every sea ? Ay, sir, let 
ours be the chosen land, let ours be the land whither the weary wanderer 
shall direct his footsteps and where he can enjoy the blessings of peace and 
freedom. Let ours be the "bright particular star," next to the star that led the 
shepherds to Bethlehem, that shall guide the downtrodden and oppressed 
of all the world into a harbor of peace, security, and happiness. And let us, 
kneeling around the altar, all thank God that although we have had our trials 
we have saved our country; that although we have been guilty of sins we have 
wiped them out ; and that we at length stand up a great and powerful peo- 
ple, honored by all the earth, " redeemed, regenerated, and disenthralled 
by the genius of universal emancipation." 

Speech at the Sherman Banquet in St. Louis, on the 20th of July, 1865. 

The second regular Toast, " The Army and Navy of the United States," 
was responded to by Mr. Rollins as follows : 

Mr. Chairman: It was but a few moments ago that my friend Colonel 
Broadhead informed me that I should be called upon to respond to the 
sentiment that has just been read. I regret, sir, that this pleasing duty 
has not devolved upon some one of the distinguished military gentlemen 
who have honored this occasion with their presence. But, sir, as the duty 
is imposed upon me, I rise to make a very few remarks. 

The dissolution of the American Union, the downfall of the great Re- 
public, if such a thing had happened, would have been the most distressing 
catastrophe and the severest blow to the cause of free institutions that 
had ever been felt in the history of our race. For the preservation of our 
Government and this blessed Union we are mainly indebted to the heroic 
achievements of the Army and Navy of the United States. The fame of 
that Army and that Navy has been established by the earnest, unselfish, and 
devoted patriotism of our soldiers and our sailors, and they have added 
imperishable glory to both these arms of the public service. 

It is a pleasing reflection to every cultivated and sensitive heart, that 
during this terrible rebellion — this great effort on the one hand to destroy, 
and on the other to preserve, the nation's life — this unprecedented conflict 
of arms between millions of men engaged upon either side — that through- 
out the struggle, not one single solitary act of insubordination has occurred, 
nor has one effort been made, on the part of the high military and naval men 
who have conducted successfully this great revolution, with any other view 
than to promote the glory, the success, and the safety of our free country. 
In the Army and the Navy, all unworthy ambition, all objects, personal and 
selfish, have given way to a pure and elevated love of country ; this is the 
motive that has guided our generals and our soldiers, and to their unsel- 
fish aims are we largely indebted for the triumphant success that crowned 
their efforts, and which causes the heart of the nation to swell with gratitude 
to our brave defenders. 

Mr. Chairman, the war is over. It was, sir, a necessary war. It was a 
war that could not be avoided. In the whole history of our race no man can 
point to a solitary case where an attempt was made to overthrow a govern- 
ment and mutilate its territory without an effort on the part of that govern- 
ment to maintain itself. Nations fight upon a sole point of national honor. 


Nations often declare war in order to uphold the rights of a single citizen. 
Nations quarrel and sometimes fight to maintain the integrity of their terri- 
torial dominion, though barely worth possessing. A few years ago we were 
almost involved in a war with Great Britain in reference to a small strip, not 
larger than a few counties, in the northeastern part of our territory. At 
another time we hear the war-cry of " Fifty-four forty, or fight ! " And all 
remember our complications with the same power in regard to a small island 
on our northwestern coast, the title to which was more than doubtful, and 
which at best was hardly worth owning. With instances like these before 
us, how could any man of sense reason for a moment that a great Govern- 
ment like ours would permit itself to be cut in twain and despoiled of the 
fairest and richest portion of its beautiful heritage, to have planted upon 
its border a hostile and powerful people, to have its commerce swept from 
us and to surrender the splendid harbors stretching along its coast for 3000 
miles, from the Chesapeake to the Rio Grande, including the mouth of the 
Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico, without a struggle more persistent and 
terrible than any hitherto witnessed among men since the " morning stars 
sang together " ? No, sir ; however reluctant the nation felt, we were com- 
pelled to fight or to stand a dishonored and disgraced people ; and if from 
any cause the people had shrunk from the contest, I believe that the gallant 
Army and Navy would have struck the blow and saved us from the national 
humiliation and disgrace. But, sir, the people were like the Army and the 
Navy — they loved their country, and nowhere in human history have any 
people been so lavish of their wealth, their efforts, and their blood to uphold 
the right, to maintain territorial integrity and the national honor. 

And now, sir, that the war is over, and the white-winged messenger of 
peace has again spread her wings over the continent, it is a reflection no less 
pleasing than honorable that the men who have been actively engaged in the 
war are the most earnest advocates of peace, and only those would continue 
the strife who have never fired a musket or seen a fort ! 

The distinguished citizen and soldier whom we all delight to honor on this 
occasion has added fresher laurels to his brow, because from the time he 
accepted a colonelcy in the Regular Army until the firing of the last gun he 
has been the most consistent, earnest, generous, and gracious advocate of 
peace. He followed war because he was in truth the child of the Republic, 
because he owed it to his country to sacrifice his life, if need be, in his efforts 
to save it. He struck no unnecessary or vengeful blow whilst he wielded his 
sword, and when the enemy succumbed, yielding to his superior prowess, he 
at once set an example of moderation, of liberality, and of justice in dealing 
with a fallen foe, best calculated to insure an immediate and lasting peace, 
and worthy the imitation of the most enlightened Christian philanthropists 
and statesmen. 


Mr. Chairman, I know that I am likely to weary this audience. [Cries 
of " Go on ! go on ! "J It would be in bad taste on my part to continue these 
desultory remarks, when I know that you are all, like myself, impatient to hear 
from General Sherman himself. But, sir, in doing honor to the great and 
distinguished men who have made the American name still more illustrious 
amongst men, let us not forget on this festal occasion the rank and file of 
the American Army — the common soldiers — God bless them! Without 
them we should have had no Sherman and no Grant; but, sustained by 
them, the military genius of the country has been developed, and our mili- 
tary annals enriched with names that will never die. As long as free govern- 
ment has a votary upon this continent, and liberty is prized amongst men, 
besides the great captains whose names I have just mentioned, the recollec- 
tion of the glorious services of Thomas and Sheridan, of McClellan and 
Meade, of Hancock and Hooker, of Pope and Schofield, of Dodge and Mc- 
Pherson, of Blair and Lyon, of Terry and Logan, and a host of other brave 
officers, will remain ever green and fresh in the memory of the American peo- 
ple. In honoring our illustrious guest to-night we honor at the same time 
every officer who has performed well his part in the great struggle, and every 
soldier who has worn honorably the uniform of the American army. We 
honor the famous institution where many of these distinguished officers were 
so well taught, and we claim that whatever recreancy to country may have 
been shown by some of the graduates of that institution, the brilliant conduct 
and heroic achievements of those who remained true to the flag must ever 
henceforth make West Point a favorite institution with the American people. 
But we honor to-night in a special manner every bronzed man of war who 
followed our distinguished friend from Pittsburg Landing to Vicksburg, from 
Vicksburg to Chattanooga, from Chattanooga to Atlanta, from Atlanta to the 
Sea, from Savannah to Charleston, and from Charleston to Washington. 
Richmond, for a time, was in fact the rebellion. It rested upon the four 
props of Atlanta, Savannah, Charleston, and Wilmington. And without in- 
tending any invidious comparison betwixt our honored guest and others who 
have performed their part so nobly, it is proper to say that it was in that grand 
and unprecedented march, a inarch unequaled in the history of warfare 
amongst men throughout the world, that these props were struck down, and 
the infamous rebellion fell, crushed to atoms beneath the weight of wicked- 
ness and folly which had inaugurated it and had sustained it for four long 
years. All honor, I again say, to the rank and file of Sherman's army. 

The poor, brave soldier ne'er despise. 

Nor treat him as a stranger ; 
Remember he 's his country's stay 

In the day and hour of danger. 


Nor will we forget on this or on any similar occasion the great exploits of the 
American Navy. The Army and the Navy, in honor, in fame, in imperish- 
able deeds, must forever be indissolubly linked together. You cannot honor 
the one without at the same time awarding praise to the other. They are 
our twin defenders. They are the offspring of a common parent ; they sprang 
out of the great and patriotic heart of the American people. In this rebellion, 
what the Army failed to accomplish, the Navy did ; and what the Navy did 
not do, the Army accomplished. The Navy went where the Army could 
not go, and to do it entire justice it went almost wherever the Army did go / 
It defied the enemy on the seas, and the music of its artillery drove away 
the danger along the shores of our great rivers. The common soldier and 
the common sailor vied with each other in storming fortresses thought to be 
impregnable, and they often perished side by side in upholding the sacred 
and beautiful banner of the Republic. We will not forget to shed a tear of 
sorrow over the bier of the immortal Foote, who for a while in the early part 
of the rebellion was a citizen of St. Louis ; and by the side of the illustrious 
names that I have already mentioned will stand forever those of Farragut, 
of Porter, of Dahlgren, of Du Pont, of Worden, and of Winslow, throwing a 
still brighter halo over each unfading page of American history. We will 
never forget how those men have sustained the fame and the power of the 
American name. Since these great achievements we have a right to dispute 
the " trident " with that powerful nation hitherto regarded as the mistress 
of the seas ; and in the future it will be for us to appropriate the beautiful 
quatrain of her own immortal bard — 

Columbia needs no bulwark, 

No towers along the steep, 
Her march is o' er the mountain wave, 

Her home is on the deep. 

Mr. Rollins offered the following sentiment, which was cordially re- 
sponded to : 

The Supremacy of the Civil Law : The surest guarantee of the Liberty and the 
Safety of the Citizen. 



Agricultural College — A Short Synopsis of the Closing Debate 

in the Senate. 

[From the Missouri Statesman, February 25, 1870.] 

We publish below a summary of the closing debate on the Agricultural 
College bill. It has been a severe struggle running through three or four 
years of legislation. The friends of concentration, under the lead of Hon- 
orable J. S. Rollins, have finally won the victory. It is a great triumph. 
It unites two great literary and scientific institutions in Missouri which 
without it would both have been failures. It insures the future success of 
the State University, and gathers around it a powerful educational influence 
which will make it, for all time, the center of our State educational system. 
It plants at last, after so many years of toil, anxiety, and effort, our Univer- 
sity upon a firm and solid foundation. It may have its seasons of adversity 
still, growing out of bad management, or occasional political or sectarian 
interference, but it cannot be shaken or permanently injured. It must 
become one of the great educational lights of the Mississippi Valley. We 
repeat, it has been a great contest; it is over, and let all unite now in 
making the institution a success, an honor and a blessing to the State and 
country. In both branches of the General Assembly, Major Rollins, 
running through the long years of contest, has been the active, enthusiastic, 
and eloquent champion of the measure. Whilst other friends have labored 
zealously, he was the author, and has been the steady and unflinching 
advocate, who insured our triumph; and it is to be regretted that the 
exhaustive and powerful speeches made by him, both in the Senate and 
House of Representatives, during the pendency of the various bills, have 
not been preserved for the want of a Legislative reporter. 

February 10, 1870. 

Senator Birch called up Senate bill No. 16, in relation to the Agricultural 

The Secretary read the House amendments to the bill. 

Senator Filler moved to lay the bill over informally, and that the amend- 
ments be printed. 


Senator Rollins : While there are a great many amendments, the larger 
portion of them are wholly immaterial. There are really only three or four 
amendments — one is in relation to a mining school in the Southeast. 

Second. That agricultural lands leased may be taxed for State and county 

Third. In relation to the settlement of the lands, giving the settlers the 
preference in the purchase of them. 

Fourth. The striking out of the twenty-fifth section in relation to Lincoln 

I trust there will be no delay. 

Senator Cavender : I should like to look at these amendments, and 
judge of them myself. 

Senator Filler : The Senator from Boone has had ample opportunity 
to judge of this bill, but I have not. I will be willing to take it up within 
four hours after the printed amendments are laid upon my desk. 

Senator Harbine : I do not think delay is necessary. Let us settle this 
strife — come to some conclusion in relation to this matter. I am prepared 
to concede something to the House. I am not averse to putting over to 
some definite time, but I do oppose laying it over informally. I therefore 
amend by moving that it be made the special order for Tuesday next, at 
n o'clock. 

Senator Filler : I accept the amendment. 

Senator Morrison : I do not see what good it will do to postpone this 
bill. The amendments, I think, are perfectly understood by the Senate. 

Senator Harbine : I withdraw my proposition. 

Senator Morse : I renew it. 

Senator Bruere : I confess that I am entirely taken by surprise. Only 
a few days ago the Senator from Boone urged that the Constitution would 
not permit the establishment of this school at any other place than the State 
University. To-day, I understand him that he desires a portion of this 
grant to go to a School of Mines. I am not prepared for so sudden a 
change. I want time to consider these propositions. We want time to 
prepare our plan of battle. 

Senator Rollins : My argument was that the State University should 
have established a Department of Agriculture therein, according to the ex- 
press terms of the Constitution. I have been earnestly urging the policy 
of concentrating these funds in connection with the University. They 
would be more beneficial then to the people of the State. But it is 
apparent that such a bill cannot be passed; I therefore yield, and take 
the next best measure, and that is to provide for a School of Mines as a 
branch of the University, to be located in the mineral district of southeast 


Senator Bruere : Am I to understand the Senator that on the same 
principle the Agricultural College may be located in any part of the State, 
so long as it is made a department of the State University ? 

Senator Rollins : The Senator from St. Charles is to understand me as 
insisting upon the Legislature establishing a Department of Agriculture in 
connection with the University, as the Constitution commands, and who but 
the Senator from St. Charles would place this department in a distant part 
of the State, or anywhere else indeed except in immediate connection 
with the University, where the two institutions would be strengthened by 
their proximity, and secure to both the greatest usefulness and prosperity ? 

Senator Buckland : I presume that these amendments are very simple, 
but I have not seen the original bill, and I want time to look it over. 

Senator Rollins : We have nothing to do with the original bill. We have 
to deal only with the amendments, which the Senator says he understands. 

Senator Evans : I have begged that these amendments be printed ever 
since they passed the House. Could I have got hold of them, I would have 
been willing to have them printed at my own expense, but there seems to 
be a determination to keep them in the dark. 

The motion to make it the special order for Tuesday next was lost. 

Senator Evans moved to make it the special order for to-morrow at two 

Motion lost. 

The first amendment, establishing a " School of Mines and Metallurgy," 
was agreed to. 

Senator Graham objected to the second reading of the second amendment. 

Declared out of order. 

The second amendment was read and agreed to. 

Senator Bruere offered an amendment to the third amendment in relation 
to the division of the fund between the Agricultural College, the School of 
Mines, and Lincoln Institute, giving eight-thirteenths to the Agricultural 
College, four-thirteenths to the School of Mines, and one-thirteenth to 
Lincoln Institute. 

Senator Bruere : I offer this amendment in justice to a large number of 
the population of our State. We provided for Lincoln Institute in the 
Senate bill. This provision was stricken out. I desire to know why it was 

Senator Rollins : This question has been fully discussed in the House, 
and they decided there to do away with this provision. There is no dispo- 
sition on the part of any friend of this bill to do injustice to any one on the 
subject of education. The original bill provided for an Agricultural and 
Mechanical College in connection with Lincoln Institute, by giving to it one- 
thirteenth part of this congressional grant of lands. But the intelligent and 
educated portion of the colored race in our State say that they do not want it 


for any such purpose. They told us in language not to be misunderstood a 
few nights since in this Capitol that they wanted provision made for a Normal 
School, designed to educate colored teachers for the education of the colored 
children of the State. This is true wisdom. They understand their own 
wants better than we do. A bill drawn up by one of them has already been 
presented in the other House, making an annual appropriation for a Normal 
School. It will pass the House, and I am ready to support it here. But 
you cannot take a part of this congressional land grant to establish a Nor- 
mal School for white or black. To do so would be a violation of the law 
of Congress and a perversion of the fund, and it would be so declared by 
the courts whenever the question was tested. 

Senator Bruere : This provision passed the Senate last winter and the 
House now asks us to recede from our position. The object is not for a 
Normal School, but it is made in conformity with the provisions of the 
grant for a School of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts. 

Senator Harbine : The question is not whether we shall recede from the 
position we took last winter, but whether we shall go a step further. We 
made two divisions of the fund. The house struck out the provision for 
the colored school, and established in their amendment a School of Mines. 
We have voted on their proposition, and accepted. The Senator seeks now 
to incorporate a third provision. Divide this fund to so great an extent and 
we shall have several puny, sickly institutions. Let us keep this fund 
together and build up a great institution that will be a pride to the State. 
Why not help the school at Kirksville or Sedalia ? They have as much 
right to aid as Lincoln Institute. They all need it, but if we divide the 
fund we will have nothing of value to the State. 

Senator Graham : These gentlemen incorporated this provision last winter 
that they might pass this bill; this winter they turn upon it. Last winter 
they rejected the proposition for a School of Mines; this winter, the House 
having passed it, they are very much in favor of it. They claim that this one- 
thirteenth will do the colored people no good. If the whole is worth any- 
thing, this one-thirteenth will very much benefit these people who so much 
need it. 

Senator Rollins : The Senator from Jackson is not as bright as he is 
usually. I have just explained why I assent to a School of Mines and 
why I am opposed to giving a part of this congressional fund to Lincoln 
Institute. Can the Senator from Jackson neither see nor hear? The col- 
ored people want a Normal School, and I am in favor of giving it to them ; 
but you cannot touch this fund for any such purpose. 

Senator Graham : This bill proposes to take the lands of South Missouri 
and endow a school in North Missouri, and at the same time they agitate 
the question of dividing the State. I think it is time that Senators begin to 
think about this voting away the last dollar of South Missouri. 


Senator Rollins : The Senator from Jackson now attempts to raise a new 
issue. He lugs into this debate the question of dividing the State. What 
has this to do with the Agricultural and Mechanical College question ? Sir, 
who starts chis question of dividing the State ? A parcel of boys who want 
to soar die eagle and hear themselves talk. I am utterly opposed now and 
forever to anything of the kind. I want to live and die in a big State and in 
a big country. I am for the union of the people on the north and south side 
of our great river now and forever. It is too late in the day for me to become 
an advocate for secession, either of my State or of my country. Sir, it would 
grieve me almost to death to part with my most amiable and good-tempered 
friend, the Senator from Jackson. God deliver me from so great a calamity ! 

The amendment to the third amendment was lost. Ayes, 12 ; noes, 17. 

Senator Evans moved to adjourn. Lost. 

The third amendment was agreed to. 

Senator Roseberry moved to adjourn. Lost. 

Senator Evans called for the roll of the Senate. 

On motion of Senator Reed, further proceedings under the call were dis- 
pensed with. 

Senator Ridgely moved that the Senate take a recess until to-morrow 
morning at 10 o'clock. Lost. 

Senator Evans moved to adjourn. Lost. 

Senator Ridgely: I was in hopes of having some light thrown upon 
this subject by the friends of the bill. I want to know how this trade of a 
colored Agricultural School for a School of Mines was made. 

Senator Rollins : Like the Senator from Jackson, the Senator from St. 
Louis [Mr. Ridgely] is also blind. But I understand very well that he wants 
to defeat this measure. He has been trying it for years, and he still aims at 
it. He pretends not to understand it. Sir, whose fault is this ? I have been 
making an effort for years to get a single ray of light into his head on this 
subject, but it seems I have failed and still fail. " The light shineth upon the 
darkness, but the darkness cotnprehendeth it not." Sir, I repeat, whose fault is 
this ? I can pour upon the Senator a flood of information, but I cannot give 
to him understanding. That is the gift of God. 

Senator Ridgely : I cannot see how so flimsy a bait has caught so many, 
not only here, but in the other House. I am not opposed to a School of 
Mines, but I do object to its being managed by Boone County. We have 
seen fruits of its management for many years past. 

Senator Rollins : The Senator assails the management of the University. 
Sir, let him come on with his facts. I am ready to meet him on that subject. 
But it is the management of Boone County to which he objects. Ah, yes! 
" That 's what 's the matter." The Senator may yet perish of Boone County 
on the brain ! 


Senator Blodgett : I have been beaten in every measure that I have 
favored in relation to this grant. I see Senators from the southwest voting 
for the amendments, who have no interest in this School of Mines. I think 
the Senator from St. Louis has no right to say that there has been trading. 

Senator Ridgely : I did not state. I asked for light. 

Senator Graham : I have tried to have such a college as I thought would 
be of the greatest benefit to the State. I find that my views are not indorsed 
by the majority. I now withdraw all further opposition to this bill. 

Senator Rollins : Sir, I am most gratified to see the opposition at last 
giving way. I aim at a noble object, and I have been worried long enough 
over the passage of this bill. Senators have witnessed the great and anxious 
efforts that I have made the last three winters in this Capitol to put it through. 
Are there not other generous hearts who in this hour of my greatest need 
will come to the rescue, and aid me to concur in these amendments, and thus 
pass the bill and end the strife ? The noble speech which has just fallen from 
the lips of the Senator from Jackson touches me to the quick. I return 
to him my grateful acknowledgments, and unlike Hannibal the great Car- 
thaginian general, who was taught to swear eternal hatred to Rome, I now 
swear in all the future eternal friendship to the Senator from Jackson. 

The fourth, fifth, and sixth amendments were adopted. 

The seventh amendment was read. 

Senator Evans offered an amendment striking out " southeast Missouri " 
and inserting " any county known as a mining district." 

Senator Evans : I think this is simple justice to the many mining regions 
in our State outside of southeast Missouri. It is true that my county is in- 
cluded in the boundaries of southeast Missouri, and I am certain that Phelps 
County will outbid any other and the School of Mines will be established 
there ; but I have not the heart to say that other counties of my district shall 
not be permitted to bid for the location. The counties of southeast Missouri 
should not at our hands receive privileges not granted to the counties of 
Pulaski, Wright, Ozark, Douglas, Webster, Christian, Newton, or other of our 
mining counties. Sir, I venture to stem the dark and sickening sluice of 
oppression that pours its gall upon the southwestern part of the State. Were 
I to see any other section so imposed upon I would as readily resent it. A 
wrong is done to a worthy section of this State that will yet bring a blush of 
shame upon men who have thus far failed to see their error. It was not 
enough to fasten the lands of southwest Missouri for the benefit of the Boone 
County school; not enough to take a second State college to the same place 
and bury it in the first; not enough to give that county more than its share 
of curators; not enough for these curators to appoint the land commissioner; 
not enough to lease these lands out to transient people instead of selling them 
to actual settlers ; not enough that southwest Missouri had always been espec- 


ially slighted in the way of State and National favors. No, that grand local- 
ity, whose people were all Union soldiers, must take a cup more bitter still. 
Boone County offers a School of Mines to southeast Missouri, but bids for the 
location must not extend a mile into southwest Missouri. The mines west 
of range ten come under the ban — they are in southwest Missouri. Strange 
that other sections will not see to the adoption of fair play; fair and equal 
legislation is best, and I am not sure that we are not sworn to legislate 
equally and fairly. I ask for enlarged liberty, toleration, and justice, equally 
distributed to all sections and all men under our high waving flag. 

Senator Rollins : The Senator from Phelps [Mr. Evans] has accomplished 
his purpose in offering this amendment. He did not expect it to be adopted. 
He only wanted to show his constituents how dearly he loved them, and 
how watchful he was of their best interests. He evidently wants to come 
back to the Senate again and still continue to grace the seat which he so 
nobly fills; and being a gentleman of the most liberal views, a statesman of 
tremendous breadth, I should not be surprised if he aspired to still higher 
honors at the hands of the people. Sir, I trust he may succeed, for all must 
concur with me, who have witnessed his course (and especially upon this 
bill), that a terrible calamity would befall the State for him to absent himself 
from her legislative councils. Unwilling to trust his tongue and his talents 
for extemporaneous debate, he comes in here at this late hour with his little 
written speech of a finger's length, having compressed into it all the bitterness 
which flows from misapprehension and misrepresentation, and chooses to stake 
his reputation upon that speech as a wise and enlightened lawmaker ! No 
wonder, sir, that our school system does not better flourish ! No wonder 
that our benevolent policies and our higher institutions of learning are slow 
to take root, and some of them wither and perish, when the people con- 
tinue to choose, as the guardians of these great and sacred interests, such 
agencies as the Senator from Phelps ! Sir, for one I utterly repudiate his 
sectionalism; I trample beneath my feet his poor and puny efforts to awaken 
a prejudice in the minds of the people living in different parts of the State! 
His flings at my own county are so frequent, and at the same time so weak 
and puerile, that they awaken in my bosom a feeling rather of pity than of 
scorn. Sir, this bill does no injustice to any part of the State. These insti- 
tutions must be located somewhere. Every county cannot have them, and 
where else would you place a mining school (if you separate it from the 
University) except in the very heart of the mining region ? What more does 
the Senator want ? His own county and a very large portion of his district 
are embraced within this bill. He ought to be satisfied ; his constituents, if 
they are of liberal minds and ?enlike him, will be satisfied ; and the brave and 
loyal men of the southwest, who are so well represented here, appreciating 
the advantages of their location, and the early development of their rich and 
beautiful country by the railroads and other facilities of commercial inter- 


course which will very shortly reach them, will not thank him, either for his 
pretended sympathy or for his impertinent and unasked defense of them. 
When the great southwest needs a champion to vindicate its rights upon this 
floor, the good people of that favored region will look elsewhere than to the 
Senator from the " Little Piney"! But the Senator goes for " enlarged lib- 
erties, toleration, and justice equally distributed to all sections and all men under 
our high waving flag" Sir, considering his exact position upon the great 
issues of the hour, this is most " excruciating." I cannot do justice to the 
subject. I give it up. I call for a vote on the amendment. 

Senator Bruere : I shall vote aye on this amendment and do justice to 
the whole southern part of the State. 

Senator Gottschalk : I do not see why the southeast is to be preferred 
to any other section in locating a high school or college. 

The amendment to the seventh amendment was not agreed to by the 
following vote : 

Ayes — Messrs. Bruere, Evans, Filler, Gottschalk, Human, Waters, and 
Williams — 7. 

Noes — Messrs. Birch, Blodgett, Brown, Buckland, Conrad, Dodson, 
Essex, Graham, Harbine, Morrison, Rea, Rogers, Rollins, Roseberry, Reed, 
Shelton, Spaunhorst, and Vandivert — 18. 

Absent — Messrs. Cavender, Clark, McMillian, Morse, Ridgley, Carrol, 
Davis, Todd, and Headlee — 9. 

The seventh amendment was agreed to. 

A motion to take a recess until to-morrow morning at 10 o'clock was lost. 

The eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth, fifteenth, 
and sixteenth amendments were taken up and agreed to without debate. 

The seventeenth amendment, striking out twenty-fifth section of original 
bill in relation to Lincoln Institute, was then taken up. 

Senator Bruere moved to reject this amendment, and called for the ayes 
and noes. 

The amendment to the seventeenth amendment was lost. 

The seventeenth amendment was then agreed to. 

The eighteenth, nineteenth, twentieth, twenty-first, twenty-second, twenty- 
third, and twenty-fourth amendments, and the amendment to the title were 
then taken up and agreed to without debate. 

Senator Birch moved that the vote by which these amendments were 
agreed to be reconsidered, and that that motion be laid upon the table. 

Ayes and noes called. 

The motion to reconsider was laid upon the table. 


And thus the Agricultural and Mechanical College Bill finally passed 
the two Houses of the General Assembly of the State. 


Where Should it he Located? Letter from Honorable James S. 
%ollins to Honorable F. Muench. 

Columbia, January 24, 1866. 
Hon. F. Muench, Senate Chamber, Jefferson City. 

Dear Sir: When I was at the Capitol of the State, a few days since, it 
was my purpose to call upon you ; but being pressed for time I was deprived 
of that pleasure. Knowing the great interest which you take in everything 
pertaining to the welfare of Missouri, I desired to compare views with you 
in regard to the proper location of the proposed Agricultural and Mechani- 
cal College. Deprived of the opportunity, I avail myself of this mode, and 
take the liberty of making a few free suggestions on the subject. 

The amount of land to which Missouri is entitled under the Act of Con- 
gress " to provide colleges for the benefit of agriculture and the mechanic 
arts " is 330,000 acres. The law further provides " that whenever there 
are public lands in a State subject to sale at private entry, at one dollar and 
twenty- five cents per acre, the quantity to which said State shall be entitled 
shall be selected from such land within the limits of such State." And 
there being still a large amount of public land in this State " subject to sale 
at private entry at one dollar and twenty-five cents an acre," it follows that 
the entire quantity of land to which Missouri is entitled under the above 
recited act must be selected within the State. Other States having no 
public lands are authorized to receive scrip, to sell the same, and to invest 
the proceeds thereof and " apply the interests thereon to the uses and pur- 
poses prescribed in the act of Congress." 

The first question that naturally suggests itself respects the value of this 
land to the State of Missouri. What is it worth ? And how soon can the 
fund be made available for the purposes to which it is dedicated ? Certainly 
after the lands are selected it will be a good many years before all of them 
can be sold, and until then the fund must remain unprofitable. Therefore 
it occurs to me that when we consider the actual sum to be realized from 
these lands, and the length of time that it will necessarily take to convert 
them into cash, the policy of dividing the fund will be subversive of the 
objects of the national Government in making this grant to the States, and 
especially so in Missouri. There should be no division of the fund here. 



By a wise policy the lands should be made to bring the largest sum, and the 
whole amount thereof ought to be forever and sacredly invested to promote 
the beneficent object for which the grant was intended. Instead of squan- 
dering the fund by dividing it amongst a half-dozen different institutions, 
each division yielding enough to support a single professorship, it should be 
consolidated and made a permanent endowment for a department of learn- 
ing devoted to " agriculture and the mechanic arts," which would be acces- 
sible to all the youth of the State, and of which every citizen in all future 
time should be justly proud. 

Having made these suggestions in regard to the probable value of the 
fund and against the policy of a division of it, the next question that I 
would raise is, which is the best point in the State for the location of the 
institution ? Under the law of Congress " no portion of said fund, nor the 
interest thereon, shall be applied directly or indirectly, under any pretense 
whatever, to the purchase, erection, preservation, or repairs of any building 
or buildings." Whatever sums may be needed for these purposes must be 
provided either by taxing the people of the State, or by donation from the 
people of the county in which the college may be located, unless the State 
has already under its control buildings suited to the purpose. And although 
the law of Congress provides that " a sum not exceeding ten per centum 
upon the amount received by any State, under the provisions of the act, 
may be expended for the purchase of lands, for sites or experimental farms, 
whenever authorized by the respective Legislature of said State," it is not 
desirable that the original fund should be at all diminished. 

Wherever located, the people of the county ought to be willing to provide 
land sufficient for the use of the college, and thus save for the permanent 
benefit of education the whole Congressional grant. 

The next question that presents itself is whether the State is in a con- 
dition to plant the proposed institution without taxing its treasury either for 
money to erect the necessary buildings or the purchase of a suitable farm ? 
Allow me to say that what I shall add upon this subject is prompted by no 
consideration of self-interest. I desire simply to encourage the adoption of 
such a policy as will save the fund from waste, and the State treasury from 
heavy burden, and will secure the location of the college at a point where it 
can at once be put into successful operation, and where its final success 
would be insured beyond reasonable doubt. If the State University were 
located at any other place than where it is, with all its attendant advantages, 
I should most certainly be an earnest advocate of connecting the Agricul- 
tural College with it, and I offer the following arguments, to my mind 
conclusive, why this should be done : 

1. The State has here a spacious edifice, sufficiently large for the accom- 
modation of one thousand pupils, and which, with the grounds upon which 


it stands, could not be had elsewhere for less than two hundred thousand 

2. The libraries, chemical, philosophical, and astronomical apparatus, 
with mineralogical and geological cabinets, are estimated to be worth not 
less than one hundred thousand dollars. 

3. The University has a permanent endowment of one hundred and 
thirty thousand dollars, which properly invested and managed ought to 
yield, for educational purposes, at least thirteen thousand dollars per annum. 

4. There is connected with the University a corps of professors, all 
scientific men, provided for at great cost, partly out of the funds of the 
institution, who can teach five hundred pupils with just as much facility 
and success as they can teach one hundred. 

5. Columbia, the seat of the University, is nine miles from the Missouri 
River, and twenty miles from the North Missouri Railroad, and in a year 
or two will have finished a branch connecting with that railroad. It is 
situated in one of the most healthy and fertile agricultural districts in the 
State, and in the midst of an enterprising and intelligent population. 

6. In addition to the foregoing powerful considerations, I may add that 
it is proposed to furnish the required quantity of land for the purpose of the 
Agricultural College, and to the University, without any appeal whatever 
to the State. 

If the Agricultural College were located to-day in connection with the 
University, it could be put into successful operation next week. Now, I 
may well ask, what other point presents any such advantages as those 
which I have stated above ? Located elsewhere, how long will it take to 
prepare the necessary buildings ? Who is to furnish a suitable farm ? Is 
the General Assembly prepared to add to the already heavy taxes of the 
people a sum to purchase these, when the State has them already provided ? 
Where is the money to come from to purchase the necessary and extensive 
libraries, such as the University now has ? How are the chemical, philo- 
sophical, astronomical, botanical, mineralogical, geological departments of 
the Agricultural College to be supplied, unless it be connected with the 
State University ? Let it be remembered that all these are absolutely 
essential to the success and proper endowment of the Agricultural College. 
Chemistry, botany, philosophy, mineralogy, geology are sciences all of 
which are intimately connected with agriculture, and wherever this institution 
is located all these must be provided in connection with it ; and the ques- 
tion again recurs, where are the funds to come from to purchase all of 
them ? The State University has already, as I have stated above, a well- 
organized corps of teachers. It is not contemplated that the young men 
who will seek instruction in the Agricultural College are to become theo- 
retical or practical farmers only. In a country like ours, where agriculture 


is the prevailing pursuit of a majority of the people, and lies indeed at the 
very foundation of all our prosperity, it is, in my view, a matter of the very 
first importance that all this large and controlling class of men should be 
thoroughly educated, and in providing a department for their especial 
benefit we should be careful to add to it all the needful appliances for 
thorough education as well as for moral, intellectual, and physical training ; 
and, I repeat, all these are now well provided in the University of the State. 
In short, the State has now an investment in lands, in buildings, in books, 
in apparatus, in cabinets, in endowment, and an offer is made to add to 
all these a suitable farm, the whole amounting in actual cost to between 
three hundred thousand and four hundred thousand dollars, all of which 
may be turned to the very best advantage in promoting the immediate 
and permanent success of the Agricultural College. Where else are such 
controlling and powerful inducements to be found ? Other localities may 
provide funds sufficient, one to erect the necessary buildings, another to 
purchase the farm ; but what county will give two hundred thousand dollars, 
much less four hundred thousand dollars, a sum that the State has already 
invested, and that will be the solid foundation on which this Agricultural 
College will rest securely forever? No doubt there are many suitable 
localities in the State, and different counties would be pleased to obtain the 
institution. But as all cannot get it, the only question to be settled is, how 
best can we preserve the fund for the benefit of the people of the whole 
State, and what plan presents the largest number of advantages for the 
location ? And the answer to this question will, I think, be found in what 
I have urged above. If Missouri were likely to derive a very large fund 
from this Congressional grant, like Ohio or New York, we might think of 
attempting to build up a distinct Agricultural College. Even then, how- 
ever, it would not be sound policy for us to do so. As it is, our funds are 
entirely inadequate for any such purpose. We had better, therefore, imitate 
the example of Connecticut, Kentucky, Rhode Island, and other States, by 
locating the Agricultural College in connection with a State institution, 
already well provided for, and in successful operation. Nothing is asked 
on the score of mere favoritism. In deciding a question of this sort no one 
has a right to make any such appeal, but we should so act as to secure the 
best location, and build up an institution that shall be the pride and glory 
of the State, and that will continue in all future time to dispense its bless- 
ings amongst the people of the great valley in which our destiny is cast. I 
might add that the location of the Agricultural College in connection with 
the State University would operate to build up simultaneously this great 
educational interest, and discharge a debt the State owes it; and with 
especial justice in view of the fact that for its entire endowment, and its 
advantages above enumerated, the people are indebted exclusively to the 


general Government and to the citizens of Boone County. What, then, is 
the objection to connecting the Agricultural College with the State Univer- 
sity ? Is there any well-founded one ? And are not the arguments in its 
favor unanswerable ? 

We sometimes hear it said that the people of Boone County are disloyal ! 
Such an accusation may reach the prejudices of some, but it is no argument 
addressed to the judgment of sensible men. As in every other county in 
the State, it is true that there were to be found disloyal persons amongst us, 
but in this connection the fact should always be stated that the County of 
Boone furnished 1200 brave soldiers to the Federal army! Whatever may 
have been the political status of this people in years gone by, we think we 
may safely say that now none are more anxious to uphold the laws and to 
maintain the just authority of the Federal Government. But, in my view, 
the ever-changing political sentiment of a county is no criterion for fixing the 
location of an institution like this. The people may be Conservative to-day, 
Radical to-morrow. Twenty years ago I well remember, when I had the 
honor of accepting a seat in the Senate of the State, a man whose views 
were narrow, and who has since met a sad fate, in order to defeat some 
liberal provision of law for the State University charged upon the people of 
this vicinity that they entertained " free-soil sentiments." By the same 
individual a similar charge was hurled against the present distinguished 
head of the University, and hence it was inferred that the institution was 
not entitled to the fostering care of the State. But we find that same 
gentleman still at the helm ; he has weathered the storm in all the vicissi- 
tudes of party and of our country. True to his calling, he has borne aloft 
and elevated the standard of popular education in Missouri, and, Radical 
though he is in his political sentiments, no greater benefit can accrue to the 
State than that he be allowed to aid in shaping the character and destiny of 
the infant institution whose foundation you are now preparing to lay. 

The Governor of the State, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the 
Curators of the University, whose memorial now lies upon your desk, all 
disinterested umpires, argue the necessity and propriety of uniting the 
Agricultural College with the State University. Prompted only by a desire 
to serve the cause of education in the State, and asking pardon for this long 
communication, I remain, with high regard, your friend and obedient 
servant, James S. Rollins. 


Extracl from the speech of the Hon. James S. Rollins delivered in the 
{Missouri House of Representatives March 9, 1867, on the Bill making 
an appropriation for the benefit of the State University * 

In urging the passage of this Bill I have met with but one solitary objec- 
tion — but one ! It is said that the " people of Boone County are disloyal " ! 
Mr. Speaker, I should be unworthy of a seat on this floor if I failed to do 
justice in a manly way to those who sent me here. I would not give the 
snap of my finger for a Representative who would not, according to the 
truth, vindicate his constituents when unfairly assailed. This I will do, but 
in their defense I need not go beyond the truth. Sir, shall we tear down 
this Capitol and remove it from this place because traitors have met around 
this board ? Sir, Boone County furnished none of the leaders of this ill- 
fated rebellion. They came from Chariton, from Saline, from Cole, from 
St. Louis, from Buchanan, from Jasper, from Knox, from Lewis — counties 
all claiming to be supremely Radical now. It was your leaders, men of age 
and experience, and high social and political position, who seduced from 
the paths of loyalty and patriotism the honest and unsophisticated boys 
of my county. The guilt attaches to the leaders and to the counties that 
furnished them, far more than to those who were led astray. 

But will gentlemen attempt to punish every county, many of whose people 
took the Southern side in this rebellion ? If so, then every county in the 
State will receive a rebuke at your hands, for there was not one that did not 
furnish soldiers to the Southern army. This all of you know to be true. 
Why then will you select Boone, this old mother of counties, and make an 
example of her because some of her people were led astray ? Will you 
discriminate in your legislation against St. Louis County because some of 
her disloyal people have recently extended to Sterling Price a warm and 

* This bill was introduced by Mr. Rollins, and and under it the University receives annually 

appropriated $10,000 for rebuilding the Presi- from $14,000 to $16,000. We may say that 

dent's house, which had been burnt down, and without the means derived from this law the 

also 1% per cent, of the State revenues, after University might have suspended operations, 

deducting 25 per cent, for Common School and that its permanent growth was made se- 

purposes, for the support of the State Univer- cure by the passage of it. 
sity. The Bill became a law March 11, 1867, 


cordial welcome on his return to the State ? Sir, for one I would not. On 
the contrary, I would extend the sails of her commerce upon the bosom of 
the broad river that sweeps by the great city ; I would build up her noble 
charities, her institutions of learning, her manufactures, her capital and her 
labor, and make her what she is destined to be, the great inland city of the 
American continent; but in doing this I would allow those who had been 
untrue to their country to take back seats, as I desire they should do in 
every town and county in this State. Sir, the argument against the passage 
of this Bill is not worth much. True, there were men who were disloyal 
in Boone, but, to her credit be it spoken, she is not represented by such on 
this floor. If they had followed my advice they would have traveled 
in an opposite direction, and to-day many of them repent that they did not 
heed the warnings of their humble friend ! But, Mr. Speaker, let us have 
the whole history. Let us have the good along with the bad. Let us hold 
the scales of justice even and see which side will preponderate. This is 
honorable, this is fair. There are some traditions connected with Boone 
County. She is an old county here in the center of the State, organized 
before many of you were born. She is named after that daring old pioneer 
Daniel Boone, whom my venerable friend to my right, Judge Ryland, knew 
so well, and whose ashes still sleep beneath the sod of Missouri, and who 
more than a half-century ago opened the way to this bright and beautiful 
land that we might enjoy its blessings. 

Mr. Speaker, Boone County has not always been disloyal! I have a 
word to say to my friends from the Southwest. When I was a youth, about 
the year 1829, I remember that the Indian savages were pressing heavily 
upon the sparse settlements of the southwest border, and a call was made 
by the Governor for troops to drive them back. Who gave their services 
then to protect the infant settlements of the present counties of Bates, of 
Vernon, of Jasper, of Lawrence, and the whole Southwest ? Sir, I speak it 
with pride, they were the chivalrous, patriotic, and hardy sons of Boone 
County who interposed their shields, turned back the savage warriors, and 
protected the mothers and daughters of the Southwest from the Indian 
tomahawk and scalping knife. Gentlemen, you have now a glorious oppor- 
tunity to illustrate your magnanimity and to cancel a debt of gratitude, the 
payment of which has been so long deferred. 

I have a word also to say to the Northeast in this connection. Early in 
the history of our State, in the year 1832, when that bold and bloody-minded 
champion, the renowned Indian chief Black Hawk, was organizing his 
various tribes for warlike forays from the lakes across the waste of Iowa, then 
almost tenantless, to the Missouri River, and was making ready to come 
down with all his strength and violence upon the feeble settlements of 
Clarke, Scotland, Schuyler, Putnam, Mercer, and other counties, and even 
westward across the Chariton and Grand Rivers, our old and patriotic 


Governor John Miller (a good soldier himself) called for a regiment of 
troops, and they were mainly raised in the counties of Boone and Calla- 
way ! aye, Callaway, the daughter-in-law of Boone ! * With other troops 
they marched under the leadership of a citizen of my town, my warm 
personal friend, General Richard Gentry, a brave and gallant soldier, after 
whom the fine county of Gentry is called, represented by my friend over the 
way. Sir, it was in this hour of peril to the people living upon the northern 
frontier, when your women and children and old men were fleeing to the 
settlements for safety, when the wild yell of the Indian savage resounded 
across the prairies, and " the lightning's red glare was painting hell on the 
sky," that these troops marched to the rescue, and stood as a wall of fire for 
four long months to shield and protect your infant settlements from invasion, 
until the last Indian war-whoop that startled the sleep of the frontier had 
died away in the distance, and the merry voices of children proclaimed once 
more the return of peace within our borders. Sir, but for the assistance 
that Boone County gave to you then, when you were weak and unable to 
protect yourselves, some of these gentlemen who now honor me with their 
attention might not be allowed to hold their seats here to-day. It was 
during that expedition that I myself slept in an Indian wigwam, upon the 
very spot where now stands the beautiful and thriving city of Keokuk, when 
the deep solitude of the forest was broken only by the dash of the waters as 
they rushed wildly over the Des Moines Rapids of the Mississippi River. 
Sir, it is in no spirit of boasting that I speak of these things, but to vindicate 
the truth of history, to allay your prejudices if any still linger in your hearts, 
and to persuade you if possible to do justice not only to the people of Boone 
County but to the cause of education and of liberal learning in our State. 

Sir, still later in our history, in the year 1837, when through the agency 
of our illustrious Senator [Colonel Benton] the Secretary of War called 
upon Missouri for a regiment of troops to march to Florida to the defense 
of the people there, against the savage Seminoles led by their wily chiefs 
Osceola and Sam Jones, the County of Boone was prompt to furnish one- 
half of the number. Commanded by our distinguished fellow-citizen, 
General Richard Gentry, they marched to that distant part of the republic 
to save the inhabitants of Florida from destruction by the overpowering 
savage foes by whom they were threatened and surrounded. Hundreds of 
the same men who went out to meet Black Hawk volunteered again for 
this expedition. Sir, it was in Florida, on the 25th day of December, 1837, 
at the desperate battle of Okechobee, on the shores of one of its glassy 
lakes, that our noble patriot Gentry, at the head of his regiment, fell 
mortally wounded ; there to-day the bones of one-third of the men 
composing this gallant regiment lie bleaching amidst the live-oaks and 
beneath the torrid sun of that distant State of our glorious Union. 
*The person after whom Callaway County is named married a daughter of Daniel Boone. 


Sir, I come to a still later period in our history, a period familiar and yet 
painful to us all. I refer to the rebellion. Sir, whatever may be said or 
thought in ignorance of the facts, I assert that the people of Boorfe County 
were not unfaithful to the obligations of patriotism and of duty. In Febru- 
ary, 1 86 1, when there was a trial of strength at the ballot-box betwixt those 
who were for the Union and those who favored secession, Boone County 
gave a majority of fifteen hundred for the Union and against the secession 
of the State. When the two sections became involved in war and the 
Government called for troops, how far the people of Boone County, first 
and last, responded to the call let the report of your Adjutant-General 
answer. I hold it in my hand ; from it we see that Boone County furnished 
between eleven and twelve hundred white soldiers to the Federal army ! 
Many of these young men joined regiments in other States, and marched 
with Grant, and Sherman, and Blair, and fought well upon nearly every 
battle-field in the Southern States. These young men, faithful and loyal and 
true, went to the wars but they never returned ! There is scarcely a South- 
ern State whose sands were not moistened by the blood of patriotic men 
from the County of Boone ! Their bones lie all over the States of Texas, 
Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia, and on the route taken by Sherman in 
his splendid march to the sea : 

The lightnings may flash, the loud thunder rattle, 

They heed not, they hear not, they 're free from all pain ; 

They sleep their last sleep, they have fought their last battle, 
No sound can awake them to glory again. 

Far from their homes and their friends they perished, and were buried 
where the wild winds from the Gulf repeat daily their sad requiem and the 
beautiful magnolia sheds its perpetual fragrance upon their hallowed graves. 

Besides these the County of Boone furnished between four and five hun- 
dred colored soldiers to the Federal Army, whose loyalty and fidelity will 
not be questioned, I presume, by any one here. Sir, with these facts in her 
history, I might well ask what county presents a better record than " Old 
Boone " ? It is very true that many of her young men were led astray and 
went into the rebellion, and even of them I have heard it said, and I believe 
truthfully, that they made the best soldiers in the Southern army. The 
rebels from Boone all fought well, although in a bad cause, and since their 
return, according to the evidence of Governor Fletcher, are giving him less 
trouble than the people of almost any other county in the State. 

Sir, the masses of the people of Boone County will compare favorably 
with those of any other county in this State, or any other State. They are 
a brave, liberal, intelligent, and hospitable people. As I have already 


shown, they have done more for the cause of popular education than the 
people of any other county in Missouri having no greater population. In 
addition to the State University, which they built out of their own means, 
the two fine flourishing seminaries for females, under the guidance and 
control of able and distinguished professors, located at the county-seat, 
attest their praiseworthy efforts and their zeal in building up the educational 
interests of Missouri. Nor have they been backward in advancing the cause 
of internal improvements. The people of Boone County gave one hundred 
thousand dollars towards the building of the North Missouri Railroad, which 
barely touches the northern boundary of the county. More recently they 
have, without any external aid, begun to build, and in a few months will 
have completed, a branch twenty-two miles in length, connecting their 
county-seat with the North Missouri Railroad, at a cost to them of two 
hundred thousand dollars; and in addition, at a still further expense to them, 
they have devised a system of macadamized roads for the county at a cost 
of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, exclusive of private subscriptions. 

Sir, such a people, so far from being opposed, ought to be encouraged 
in their noble efforts to develop the physical and intellectual resources of 
the State, and thus add to its wealth and to its repute at home and abroad. 

I trust I have not been wholly without success in removing from the 
minds of my Radical friends some of the prejudices lodged there against 
the people of my county. It is a public duty that we all owe to the 
cause of education, to sustain this State institution of learning. No limited 
or narrow views should control our action on this subject. The small 
appropriation asked for should be at once granted. The passage of this 
Bill is all I have to ask of you this winter, and I trust my Radical friends 
will not allow it to fail. It will be, as I truly believe, one of the best 
investments ever made by the State — an investment like that made by the 
farmer when he sows his seed upon mellow and fertile soil, where it springs 
up and brings forth in due season a rich and abundant harvest. 

Mr. Speaker, I must apologize to the House for the length of my remarks, 
as well as for the desultory manner in which I have addressed you. It has 
not been my purpose to give offense to any one, but merely to give expres- 
sion to my own sentiments, and to do justice to those who sent me here. 
I feel much anxiety in regard to the passage of this Bill ; I feel that I need 
the help of my Radical friends to aid me in its passage — to aid me in doing 
that which the old Democratic party failed to do for more than twenty-five 
years. Let me have it to boast of when I go home, that this Legislature, 
Radical as it is, is the only Legislature and the first Legislature that ever 
recognized the claims of this institution, or that has ever extended to it a 
helping hand in the way of making a fair appropriation for the purpose of 
sustaining it and promoting the cause of liberal learning in our State. 


Letter to the Boone County Court. 

Jefferson City, March 14, 1870. 

To Hon. James Harris, Hon. James Arnold, and Hon. John W. Hall 
Judges of the County Court, Boone County : 

Gentlemen : I understand that there will be a special term of the Boone 
County Court on the 16th instant, and I have been requested to be present 
at that time, but my duties here will prevent. 

The recent action of the General Assembly in the passage of the Agricul- 
tural College Bill imposes certain duties upon your honorable body, and 
bearing the relation that I do to that measure, as one of the Representatives 
of the people of Boone County, I ask you to bear with me while I make to 
you a few friendly suggestions in regard to it. For four years past I have 
struggled under great disadvantages to obtain this great prize for my county. 
I do not think I over-rate its value to the people of Boone County now 
and for all future time, and I propose to enumerate in this communication 
some of these advantages as they present themselves to my mind. 

Before doing this, it may be asked what was the necessity to put in the 
Bill a section requiring Boone County to give anything in order to secure 
this institution ? The answer is, that other counties wanted it as well as 
Boone! Other counties offered to give large sums of money in order to 
obtain it, and therefore no man of sense can suppose for a moment that 
Boone County could obtain it without giving something for it ; and in order 
that the Court may be well advised on this subject, I present the following 
facts : 

1 st. Jackson County offered $150,000 in cash and 420 acres of land ad- 
joining the city of Independence, to have the institution located there. 

2d. Green County offered $100,000 in cash and 640 acres of land con- 
venient to the city of Springfield, to have it located there. 

3d. Pettis County offered 640 acres of land convenient to the city of 
Sedalia, and $35,000 in cash, to have it located there. 

4th. Propositions were made to put it up to the highest bidder, and with 
the assurance that there were other counties in the State that would give a 
larger amount of money and of land than that offered by any of the coun- 
ties named above. 



How then could we expect to get this institution in the face of these facts, 
and at the same time with a strong political prejudice against our locality ? 
This could not be, and I regard it as almost a miracle that Boone County 
was not required by the Bill to give at least as large a sum as was offered 
by any other county ! But this was not done; in fact, we are required under 
this Bill to give a sum, in money and lands, not more than half as large as 
that offered by Jackson County ; and Jackson County stood ready, as I have 
been informed by Senator Graham, who resides there and who represents 
that Senatorial District, to increase her cash subscription to $200,000 in 
addition to the lands offered. So much on this subject. 

I proceed now to state some of the reasons why the people of Boone 
County cannot afford to let this prize be lost to them ; and in order to be the 
better understood, I will state them in the order in which they occur to me : 

1 st. Boone County thus far has been somewhat noted for the interest 
which her people have manifested in the cause of education; we have a 
good start, and our chief sources of prosperity in the future must spring 
from the success of this great interest. 

2d. The Court will remember that not one dollar subscribed by the county 
will be taken from the county, but every cent of it will be expended there ; 
the people of the county therefore are just as rich after the subscription as 
before they made it. 

3d. But this is not all. We get most probably, in the long run, just four 
times as much, to be added to the wealth of the county, as we are asked to 
give. In other words the State, through the Legislature, says to the peo- 
ple of Boone County : If you will give $100,000 in land and money, and 
all to remain with you and to be expended amongst you, we will add $400- 
000 to it, the income thereof to be forever expended in the same way, and 
for your especial benefit. Suppose such a proposition were made to any of 
us individually, would he hesitate long in accepting it ? 

4th. But by the location of this Agricultural College in our county, we 
secure permanently all that we, have heretofore obtained, and we secure all 
that which the State may have to give in the future, and which in time will 
amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars. But the other day the Legis- 
lature of Wisconsin appropriated $50,000 to aid in building a female de- 
partment to the State University at Madison, having previously located the 
Agricultural College in connection therewith. 

5th. Carrying out in good faith the provisions of this Bill makes Boone 
County the great educational center of the State for all time to come — a 
prestige that we have at last won, after a struggle of more than thirty years. 

6th. Other institutions of a kindred character will cluster around the Uni- 
versity, and the hundreds of young men and women who will come here to 
be educated will give to us an annual income of $100,000, which may be 
26 A 


indefinitely increased according to the success that these institutions may 
attain. This income is expended here and inures to the advantage of all. 
It is like a good crop — we all feel the effects; and it will be a sure crop, 
yielding each recurring season its product in money. 

7th. Suppose this institution should yield to the county no more than 
$50,000 annually. Remember this is ten per cent, interest on $500,000. 
The institution will bring twice this sum, and the first year after it is fairly 
under way. 

8th. At this session of the Legislature another Bill was passed, providing 
for the establishment of two Normal Schools, one on the north side and the 
other on the south side of the Missouri River, and appropriating $5000 an- 
nually to each for its support, and providing further that no county could 
get one of these schools without making a donation of $25,000. Already, 
as I was informed by the chairman of the committee on education to-day, 
the County of Franklin offers $60,000 for one of these schools, and I saw a 
letter from a prominent citizen of Booneville, Cooper County, to the Senator 
from that District, stating that the people of Cooper would give in money 
and property $40,000 for the location of one of these schools, and other 
counties are making similar offers. 

Now, if they can afford to give from $40,000 to $60,000 for a small Nor- 
mal School, with an annual endowment of only $5,000, what can not we 
afford to give for an institution with a present and prospective endowment 
of $500,000 ? 

gth. Two years ago I got a Bill through the General Assembly, with the 
assistance of Mr. Lyman and Dr. Hubbard, giving to us 1^ per cent, of 
the State revenue for the support of a Normal School in connection with the 
University. This year that fund will yield us $14,500, and it will continue 
to increase annually. Remember we paid nothing for this endowment of 
our Normal School by the State, and yet we are now getting an annual in- 
terest of 7^ per cent, on $200,000, which is just so much additional en- 
dowment added to the educational fund of Boone County ; and I may add 
that the location of the Agricultural College there makes that fund in all 
probability a permanent one, and if we lose the Agricultural College we shall 
also at once lose the fund. 

10th. Thus far I have been looking at this question in the practical and 
substantial light of pecuniary investment and profit to the people of the 
county, and to the consideration of the subject from this standpoint I might 
add the following : The very fact of Columbia's being an educational center 
will induce men of intelligence and capital to settle amongst us, thus enhan- 
cing our strength and our respectability. 

nth. But there are other considerations of more importance even than 
the pecuniary aspects of the question. Remember, this is not a mere literary 


institution ; it is an Agricultural and Mechanical College, founded by the 
munificence of the general Government, and intended primarily for the edu- 
cation of the sons and daughters of the farmers and mechanics of our coun- 
try, that large and respectable class of people who constitute the bone and 
sinew of the land — the foundation of our prosperity in peace, and our sure 
defense and bulwark in periods of danger and of war. I would ask : Can 
the farmers and mechanics of Boone County afford to let this institution be 
lost to their children, rather than raise the small pittance that is asked of them ? 
Could your honorable body, composed of Judges who are most worthy repre- 
sentatives of those large and respectable classes to whom I have referred, hold 
back for a moment in doing anything that is necessary to be done to secure 
this boon, even though you were called upon to give five times as much as 
you will be asked to give ? It is absurd to think so, and it would be a re- 
flection upon you, as liberal and enlightened men, as faithful guardians of the 
public interests and especially of the best interests in all time to come of the 
farmers and mechanics of our country. 

12th. The location of such an institution in Boone County will be most 
advantageous to those for whose especial benefit it is intended — the labor- 
ing classes. It is the first time in the history of Boone County that her 
people ever heard of, or had a chance of getting, a higher institution of learn- 
ing, intended especially to give intelligence, respectability, and position to the 
children of the laboring men and women of the country; and they would 
never excuse a court that missed the great opportunity of obtaining it for 

13th. I know you frequently hear unreflecting men say, "Well, I have no 
interest in this thing." But they are mistaken — they do not think so. Every 
citizen is interested in the advancement and improvement of his county, and 
no man is worthy to be called a citizen who thinks or feels otherwise. This 
institution being controlled and conducted by the most enlightened and best 
educated men belonging to the industrial classes of society, there will be in- 
fused into our system of labor and of agricultural industry every improvement 
that will make farming remunerative and pleasant ; our young men intended 
for agricultural pursuits will understand how to obtain, and how to plant, and 
how to make profitable every species of product that is cultured, and every 
variety of stock that is raised upon a farm. 

14th. And it will be just as advantageous to our mechanical community. 
The best implements of industry, the best tools, the most convenient and 
cheapest houses and homes, the latest improvements, the best agricultural 
and mechanical newspapers, lectures from the most scientific and practical 
men — these are some of the advantages that this institution will bring to 
our very doors, and which may be reached by every child in the county, I 
care not how poor or dependent he or she may be. 


15th. Nor is this all; a taste for horticulture, for fruit-growing, for garden- 
ing will spring up around such an institution, which will modify and improve 
and elevate the opinions of every practical farmer and mechanic and labor- 
ing man in the county ; and this spirit will diffuse itself and its influence will 
be felt throughout the extent of the entire State. 

1 6th. In other States the question of the location of their agricultural and 
mechanical colleges, endowed in the same manner, has awakened the deep- 
est interest. In Illinois the county where their college was located gave in 
money and property about $400,000. In New York a single individual [Mr. 
Ezra Cornell] gave $500,000 and 200 acres of land upon the condition that 
the agricultural college should be located in his county and should bear his 
name ; the Legislature of New York accepted his proposition, and he has 
since added some $300,000 to the amount of its endowment. There are 
now some 600 or 800 students attending this institution, and it is not yet 
fairly started ! And why can not we have 500 or 600 students attending our 
institution ? We shall have as many and more, if Boone County prove true 
to the best interests and the honor of her people. 

17th. Remember that this is the only institution of the kind that for many 
years to come will be established in Missouri by the authority of the Consti- 
tution, and under the patronage of the State. Missouri is one of the large 
States of the Union ; it is in process of rapid development, and in a few years 
our present population will be doubled. Where shall the sons and daughters 
of the farmers and mechanics of the State look for higher education, except to 
an institution planted and sustained and nourished amongst ourselves ? 

1 8th. Such an institution properly cherished and sustained by our people 
will encourage and insure other improvements of general interest, in every 
part of the county. 

19th. The conditions of the Bill are very easy and they ought to be fairly 
and liberally complied with. There should be no hesitation on the point, 
even though the county were required to raise twice or thrice the amount ; we 
should not only comply with its terms, but we should do it in a manner that 
will reflect credit and honor upon our people, and not permit any question 
to be raised by the commissioners appointed to see that the conditions of the 
law are faithfully met ; a question of doubt on this point would be discredit- 
able to all of us. 

20th. This entire subscription might be paid in a single year, and not be 
oppressive to the people of the county, but there is no such necessity. The 
Bill provides that the payment of this debt may be postponed for twenty years, 
long before which time the wealth and population of the county will be more 
than doubled. This debt will be paid and forgotten, whilst the advantages 
and blessings of the investment will be felt and appreciated by the present 
and future generations, even to our latest posterity. 


21st. I do not propose in this communication to express any opinion 
as to the manner in which this subscription should be raised, further 
than to say that for a common benefit the burden should be equally borne 
by all in proportion to their taxable property. This is the only just and 
fair rule. If the town is to take a part of the subscription let the sums 
to be raised by the county and the town respectively be fairly agreed upon 
by the public authorities, and bonds at once prepared in blank, to be 
hereafter filled out. The corporate limits of the town have been extended 
by a law that was passed a few days since, and which will receive the 
signature of the Governor. Whether the rule of relative population, or 
relative taxable property, as between town and county is adopted I shall be 

22d. I hope there will be no one so forgetful of his duty as to attempt to 
get up any feeling between the town and the county upon this question. 
Rather than that this should occur, which would be dishonorable to us all, I 
would be one of twenty persons to raise the required amount, and thus dis- 
pense with all wrangling, and at the same time with all taxation or the issu- 
ing of any bonds whatever ; for my experience is that a few men, as compared 
with the whole number, not only originate, but carry forward by their energy 
and their means all these great moral and benevolent agencies that are cal- 
culated to elevate the masses, and which are to give character and prosperity 
to society and to all branches of industry. 

23d. I have supposed that the amount for which bonds will have to be 
prepared and issued will not fall short of $100,000, and it may reach $150,- 
000. This will depend upon the cost of the property which the county is 
required to furnish. If men are very exorbitant in prices asked (which I hope 
may not be the case), the amount required of us may reach the latter sum; 
but whether it be the one or the other, I am in favor of purchasing and 
tendering that property which will be best suited to the wants and con- 
venience of the institution, and which will at the same time redound to the 
honor and the credit of all of our people. 

24th. We cannot expect to have entire unanimity in regard to a question 
of this sort: men are governed by such a variety of motives, and there is such 
a wide difference in their moral and mental organization, as well as in their 
intelligence and public spirit, that we cannot expect all to see and think 
alike. For my part, when I feel conscious that I am aiming to promote a . 
great public good, which is to have a beneficial influence upon the general in- 
terests of society, I cease to listen to the opinions of individuals, but do what 
seems right and risk the enlightened judgment of good men to sustain me, 
when the effect of my action and my efforts is thoroughly felt and compre- 
hended ; and this is a good and wise rule for men who hold in their hands 
official power. 


25th. I have felt authorized to say much here that was favorable to the 
people of Boone County. When they have been unjustly assailed (as they 
have often been in the last four years) I have vindicated them, as it was my 
duty and my pleasure to do, according to the best of my poor ability. I have 
done this without regard to party or sect, for I have felt that I was the Rep- 
resentative of the whole people, and not the agent of any particular class or 
party. The truth has warranted me in saying that in all the attributes of 
good citizenship, in intelligence, liberality, public spirit, and patriotism they 
are the equals of the people in any other county in the State ; and I feel 
some pride in being justified, by their action now, in all the good things that 
I have said of them. 

26th. It has been said in the public press, that as respects this Agricultural 
College question I have been governed by some selfish or speculative motive. 
In regard to this, I have only to answer, that like other men I am not likely 
to advocate measures that might prove destructive of my own personal in- 
terest. It has been alleged that this Bill was so framed that I might be en- 
abled to sell my farm in case the measure became a law, and at an exorbitant 
valuation. In answer to this, I have only to say that I have been governed 
by no such selfish motive ; for my actions and efforts would have been the 
same if I had not owned a foot of land in the county, and I have believed 
throughout that I was doing the people whom I represent a great public ser- 
vice. It is very true that it is my misfortune just now to own some lands 
near to the present University, but I have not at any time offered these lands 
for sale, nor do I propose to sell them. • My home is there, and I expect to 
occupy it whilst I live. If in the selection of a suitable farm under this law 
the parties appointed to purchase it should finally conclude that a portion of 
the lands owned by me was necessary to make out the quantity to be fur- 
nished, I have said, and I now repeat to your honorable body, that I would 
not be unwilling to part with it, and at a price for which other and similar 
lands around me have been selling, and without reference to any enhanced 
value occasioned by the passage of the Agricultural College Bill. This is 
fair ; and I add further, that if another site can be had to meet the require- 
ments of the law without calling upon me I shall not only give my assent but 
I express myself in advance as being perfectly satisfied therewith. No spec- 
ulation that I might make (if this were my object) could ever compensate me 
for the toil, the anxiety, and the labor that I have undergone during the 
last four years, and under the most unpleasant and trying circumstances, in 
order to procure the passage of this Bill. Men with less resolution and pur- 
pose, and with patience exhausted and spirits broken, might have abandoned 
the project and given it up as hopeless ; I considered it too great a matter to 
the people of Boone County ever to abandon it at any point short of ab- 
solute defeat. 


27th. I have thus in a very imperfect way, and in the midst of other press- 
ing duties, given to the Court my views upon this important question, a 
question as important as any other upon which your honorable body has 
ever been called to act, touching the present and prospective interests of all 
the people of Boone County. I can only hope that your action in the prem- 
ises may be liberal, firm, deliberate, and wise, and that it may redound not 
only to your personal and official honor but to the common good of our 
people and the advancement of the cause of popular education. 

Desiring that this letter may be filed for preservation, I have the honor to 
be, with high regard, your friend and obedient servant, 

James S. Rollins. 


Mr. President : This is a most important measure. It is one in which 
the working-men of Missouri ought to feel the profoundest interest, because 
it is intended to elevate them, and to make some provision for the education 
of their children 

I have from early manhood been in the habit of addressing, in my poor 
way, public assemblies, both primary and representative ; yet I declare to 
you, sir, I have never before in my life felt the solicitude I now feel in 
attempting to address myself to the consideration of the Bill before the 
Senate. I am almost overwhelmed with the conviction that, do the best I 
can, I shall utterly fail to give expression to my conceptions of the impor- 
tance of the measure that is now pending, and which the votes of the 
General Assembly, the Senate, and the House of Representatives must 
soon pass upon. 


I trust the Senate will at least do me the justice to believe that in what 
I shall say 1 am not bound down by narrow, or partizan, or local considera- 
tions. No, sir ; I rise above all such. I say, with solemn emphasis, that 
in my advocacy of measures " to maintain " the University and make it 
worthy of the State, and especially in advocating this Bill, the very object 
of which is to benefit the industrial and practical departments of the insti- 
tution, and to give them the necessary means of teaching that experimental 
science which in the enlarged domain of human knowledge has become so 
important — I had almost said essential — to the agriculturist, the mechanic, 
the miner, the engineer, the architect, and the practical chemist, I am 
looking in the broadest manner to the honor, to the interests, to the 
respectability, at home and abroad, of this our great State of Missouri, this 
grand commonwealth possessing such capabilities of wealth and power as I 
verily believe belong to no other State in this our wide-spread Union. 
Yes, sir, I am speaking for the whole State, and especially for the elevation 
and welfare of its industrial interests ; and I feel that, with my convictions, 
were I now to withhold my voice or my efforts, humble as they may be, 
I should be an unworthy and unfaithful representative of the people of 





We are ever to remember, Mr. President, that our possibilities and 
capabilities as a State do not lie merely in our rivers, though they afford 
more miles of navigation than those of any other State; nor in our com- 
manding central position, nor in our soil, though it be richer than that 
washed by the Nile itself; nor in our mountains of iron, our fields of coal, 
our mines of lead, our quarries of marble, nor in any other natural advan- 
tage however great and wonderful. They do consist, sir, far more in the 
people we are to have, in our children and youth ; those who in fact are 
soon to make up and constitute the State itself (for let it be ever remem- 
bered that the people are the State, and nothing else is) ; those who are to 
use and possess all its vast and untold resources and means of enjoyment, 
who are to develop its civilization, and to create for it the name and glory 
it is to have as a commonwealth. 

What constitutes a State ? 
Not high-raised battlements or labored mound, 

Thick wall or moated gate ; 
Not cities proud, with spires and turrets crowned ; 

Not bays and broad-armed ports, 
Where, laughing at the storm, rich navies ride ; 

Nor starred and spangled courts, 
Where low-browed baseness wafts perfume to pride. 

No ! men, high-minded men, 
Men who their duties know, 
But know their rights, and knowing, dare maintain. 

These constitute a State ! 


In a word, it is our system of education, embracing both the elementary 
and the higher, that is to make us a great and intelligent people ; that is to 
awaken our own self-respect, and command the respect of the world at 
large ; that is to put it in our power to subsidize the forces of nature, and 
make them servants and workmen in behalf of our common civilization. 


It is by no means my purpose to dwell upon what science has done for 
our age and generation ; hardly, indeed, shall I touch upon this grand and 
fruitful topic. We see its achievements everywhere, and in all departments 


of life, the very greatest as well as the humblest and most minute. It has 
accomplished and made realities of what you, sir, and I would but a few 
years ago have regarded as the wildest dreams of the imagination, if not, in 
the nature of things, utter impossibilities. I stand amazed at its results 
whenever I think of them. Steam, and lightning, and air, and all the agen- 
cies of nature as now subdued to the dominion of man by the simplest 
principles of science have changed our whole earthly condition. It is prac- 
tical science — science applied to the arts of life — that has enabled men 
to understand and use the powers and agencies of nature that exist every- 
where around us. But the same science is to do yet more; she has but 
begun her triumphs. Think of all the wonderful discoveries of the past few 
decades. Far more will they be in the few years to come, because one 
discovery makes way for another, each step prepares for the succeeding one. 
I sometimes almost wish with Franklin, the great American philosopher, 
that I could lie torpid for a hundred years, and then walk forth upon the 
earth and see what improvements had been made among men. But, sir, 
I must not proceed in this line of thought, nor dwell upon the blessings 
that science is conferring on our race. 

Allow me here to say, that I am now pleading before this honorable body, 
not for classical studies nor the elegancies and refinements of literature, how- 
ever valuable and delightful they may be. I am pleading for science as 
applied to all the varied arts of life. In this I am pleading for the farmer, 
the mechanic, the miner, the worker in all the industries where science is 
needed; and can any man tell me where it is not needed, whether in the 
pursuits of war or of peace, whether in navigation, or manufactures, or 
agriculture, or mining, or even in the kitchen itself? 


We have been amazed at the progress of one nation, which above every 
other of ancient or modern times has made education the very fundamental 
principle of her government. The whole statecraft of Prussia is comprised 
in the simple word education, education, education — first, second, last — 
the very highest scientific education, and the very best elementary educa- 
tion. She has given us the great lesson of the age : she has pointed out the 
true method of national development and greatness. By this simple ruling 
idea she has risen from the rank of a third-rate or fourth-rate power to 
be the great central power of Europe, and she has risen to this rank with 
unparalleled rapidity. There is not a department of industrial life for which 
her wonderful people have not their schools : their agricultural schools, their 
normal schools, their mining schools, their polytechnic schools — I can 
hardly enumerate them. 



Mr. President, we must have in this, our commonwealth of Missouri — 
yes, I say must — we ?nust have our scientific industrial institutions. The 
necessities of the State, the progress of opinion throughout the country 
absolutely demand institutions such as we are laboring to build up in con- 
nection with our State University. The constitution, the laws, and the true 
policy of the State demand them. Shall untold riches, such as no dream 
of oriental imagination ever pictured, lie all around us on the earth and 
under the earth, and shall we as a State make no provision for their use or 
distribution ? We cannot afford it. We cannot as an economic measure, 
looking simply at the development of wealth, afford it. With our varied 
ores and minerals, worth a thousand times all the sparkling diamond-fields 
of South Africa, we need the practical knowledge of the world to bring them 
up from the earth and reduce them to the uses of man. We need the applied 
power of science beyond any other State. Shall the present Legislature of 
Illinois give her hundreds of thousands to her industrial university — as she 
has actually done, and with far less need than Missouri — and shall we 
refuse a far less amount, a mere pittance, compared with the greatness of 
the object ? We must have these institutions of science. If we do not 
establish and maintain them, other States will do it for us and send their 
men to do our work. We must have them equipped and furnished in the 
best manner. It is too late in the day to deny their value. Why, sir, there 
is not a month in the year that we do not lose and waste more for the want 
of proper science than we are now asking by this Bill, both for the School of 
Mines at Rolla, and the Agricultural and Mechanical College at Columbia. 


No man can say I have ever halted or held back as to our common 
schools. I have been at all times, and everywhere, according to the full 
measure of my feeble abilities, in favor of the widest diffusion of elementary 
knowledge. Sir, I would make it universal; as free as the air that we breathe, 
and as the light of heaven. I would extend it to every human being, no 
matter what complexion an Indian, an American, or an African sun may 
have burnt upon him. I would, to the utmost of my power, perfect our 
scheme of universal popular education. I would plant the school-house in 
every neighborhood; I would bring it to the door of the humblest peasant; 
I would, to use the words of the great American historian, Bancroft, have 
the genius of the State take every child as it is born, no matter in what 
poverty or degradation, and lifting it from its lowly origin throw around it 
the arms of protection, and endow it with the heritage of knowledge as its 


inalienable birthright. Said Madame de Stael to Napoleon : " Pour instruc- 
tion upon the heads of the French people; you owe them that baptism." 

Cousin, the great French philosopher, after visiting various countries and 
examining their systems of education, upon his return to France said, in the 
celebrated report that he made to the Chamber of Deputies: "Do what- 
ever else you please, you have done nothing until you have supplied France 
with education ! " Sir, in the light of recent events these words were almost 
prophecy; and we have done nothing, absolutely nothing, unless we have 
legislated for the very highest interest of the people, their advancement in 
science, in art, in a wide and universal culture. I place the people them- 
selves above all their possessions. And Mr. Webster, in a speech in Rich- 
mond, Virginia, quoting the sentiment of the illustrious daughter of Necker, 
said there was " no duty so solemn, no responsibility so fearful, as that rest- 
ing on the statesmen of this Republic of making broad and universal the 
diffusion of education amongst the masses of the people." I most heartily 
adopt this sentiment. 


When it comes to those higher institutions for the promotion of human 
knowledge, which the State is bound equally to provide, and which require 
the aggregation of buildings and libraries, and apparatus, professors, and 
students in all departments I have been and am for concentration. It is the 
only possible way to success. In the words of Ezra Cornell, " I would found 
an institution where any person can find instruction in any study." 


This is the State University, with all its departments as idealized in our 
State Constitution, and such as we are laboring to build up at Columbia, a 
locality central in position and in all respects suitable, with one department, 
the school of mines and metallurgy, located at Rolla, in the County of 
Phelps ; there located by the policy of the Legislature on account of the 
variety of minerals found in that district of the State, and the mining opera- 
tions carried on, and yet still more to be carried on in the future — such an 
institution as we can with its present means, and a happy combination of 
circumstances, build up with comparatively small aid from the State. To- 
day we were actually asking less than States around us are freely giving to 
their universities, almost without argument, and upon the reports of their 
wants, made after examination by committees. Upon the same judicious plan 
a joint committee of the two Houses, composed of fifteen members, has made 
its examination, and reports the smallest appropriation sufficient to meet the 
most urgent wants of the industrial departments of the institution. May we 


hope that the same action will take place in this enlightened body, and in 
the same spirit, as took place in the Michigan Legislature but the last win- 
ter ? Judge Walker, in his address at the recent inauguration of President 
Angell, says : " The committees of the Legislature came to see and learn 
our necessities and wants. They made their reports and recommended the 
appropriation of $75,000 for a recitation-room building, and without lobby- 
ing or besieging the halls of legislation the appropriation was promptly and 
freely made." But, two years before that, the Legislature had appropriated 
a sum of $15,000 a year, making the annual income of the institution now 
over $100,000. Michigan University is a great success; her fame has gone 
to every civilized country. She has, at this very time, no less than twenty- 
eight students from Missouri. The University of Michigan has been a suc- 
cess, and has achieved fame for the State, simply because she has had the 
means to do so. Is it to be expected that we can do the same work with 
less than one-fourth of her means, to say nothing of her accumulated capi- 
tal in the form of libraries and other indispensable appointments ? 


No State institution of learning can achieve its true end, or do honor to 
its State, without the means to do so. This is the simplest truism ; yet I 
doubt whether any five years' progress of Michigan has surpassed the pro- 
gress of our owji University during the past five years and since the State 
gave its first aid. It is the professional schools of law and medicine that 
gather the large number of students at Ann Arbor, and give to the institu- 
tion its wide-spread fame. Our enrolment during the present semester, or 
half-year, will reach over three hundred — only fifty less than that of the far- 
famed University of Virginia, even with her professional schools, and equal 
to three-fifths of that of Michigan University, without the professional 



It is, too, a most gratifying fact that while the students are (with excep- 
tion of less than a dozen) from Missouri, they are in about equal numbers 
from north of the river and from south of it, indeed from all parts of the 
State, about as are the members of this General Assembly.- Nor are they 
mere boys, but men (excepting thirty young women), and they fairly repre- 
sent the rising talent and influence of the State. Had younger students 
been encouraged to enter the institution, the count of numbers would have 
been much greater. 



With the necessary aid from the State to meet the present exigencies of 
the institution in the completion and proper equipment of the industrial de- 
partments, so that chemistry may be taught by the student himself making 
analyses of soils and minerals, and that other branches maybe taught in the 
same way by practice and experiment, we may expect a very large increase 
of numbers. It is of the utmost consequence that we do all in our power 
to maintain the continued and growing prosperity of the institution in all its 
departments. It was Napoleon the Great who said, " Nothing is so suc- 
cessful as success." Success begets success. This is a law in human affairs. 
With the aid now asked for, the next year will be more prosperous than any 
that has preceded. We have good reason to expect and believe that the 
institution will soon come up to the standard of the first American colleges, 
and that its position as such will be everywhere felt and acknowledged, and 
that it will confer honor upon the State itself. 


But, sir, I will not contemplate the other side of the picture. If nothing 
should be done, this State institution will not only have reached its goal, but 
there is great reason to fear it will actually fall back ; professors will be dis- 
couraged, students will be disappointed — and what shall the farmers, and 
mechanics, and miners say, and have reason to say ? 


May they not say, and will they not say, "The lawyers, and the doctors, 
and other professional men have their schools with public endowments; we 
now, for the first time in the history of the State, come forward with our 
petition for aid in a kind of education adapted to our peculiar wants. We 
want the means of experiment and practice. We must have them, if we are 
to keep pace with the spirit and progress of the times. We ask less for our 
industrial institutions than has been granted in Iowa, or Illinois, or Kansas, 
or even in the new and feeble State of Nebraska, with her 120,000 people 
and $100,000,000 or less of taxables. We have the literary and scientific ad- 
vantages of the University, and hence ask only for the industrial department 
— the department set aside for us, the farmers, the mechanics, and the 

So wisely have these interests been administered, and such is the economy 
of connecting the industrial departments with it, that our call upon the State 
treasury is one-half and evert two-thirds less than in those States where a 


different policy has been pursued. Shall we then, Mr. President, turn our 
backs upon such an appeal ? 


If we do, there is not an agricultural paper in the State, or out of it, that 
will not express regret and dissatisfaction ; there is not an agricultural or 
mechanical association nor an industrial convention, where is concentrated 
the intelligence of our people, that will not seek to reverse our action and 
procure a right representation of the people's feelings and interests. If there 
is anything in regard to which unanimity prevails among the best industrial 
men everywhere, it is the education that they require, and the education 
that they will have. 



If I could conceive that the Legislature would not act favorably upon the 
Bill before us, that it would not meet the pressing wants and necessities of the 
institution as reported and recommended by the committee, I should expect 
to see great discouragement ; in such case there would be reaction, there 
must be. The students in the agricultural department, who entered upon 
their studies at the opening of the school, cannot have the practical chemis- 
try in the analysis of soils which belongs to their best year's course; the 
building, now covered and closed in, will stand desolate, unfinished, and un- 
occupied. This condition of things produces its injurious effect upon all de- 
partments of the institution, and upon the public mind. We must not, sir, 
by our inaction, or our non-action, permit this condition of things. We must 
not lose the prestige of yearly progress. We must not lose what it will re- 
quire years of labor to regain. We must not stop the impulse that is carry- 
ing us forward. That the State will make the necessary appropriations, as 
every State is making them or has already made them, no man can seriously 
doubt. Now, now is the time to make the smallest sum count the most in 
carrying forward this great interest. Next year, or the year after it, will not 
do. There is a crisis in the affairs of institutions of learning, as in those of 
men and of nations. 

There is a tide in the affairs of men 

Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune ; 

Omitted, all the voyage of their life 

Is bound in shallows and in miseries. 



But, Mr. President, we reach another very important point in our plea for 
our industrial institutions. How came we by the agricultural and mechanical 
fund that is to endow and support these institutions, or rather by those lands 
which, when disposed of, are to give us (the State of Missouri) a fund for this 
object ? They are the gift of Congress to the State ; and a like gift, in the 
ratio of representation, was made to all the States. How came Congress to 
make this grant or gift ? The history is an interesting one, and well illustrates 
the character of our energetic, practical business men. They had become 
thoroughly convinced by their own wants and deficiencies, and after discus- 
sion in pamphlets and newspapers and in conversation, that there must be a 
new class of institutions, or an enlargement of American education as then 
existing, to meet the specific wants of the industrial classes. They went with 
their demand to Congress. By petition, by agitation in every possible way, 
by delegations to that body, by correspondence throughout the country, they 
pressed their demand. After a great struggle, after reports and counter 
reports by committees, and after a Presidential veto, they finally succeeded, 
for this class of men, the bone and sinew of the land, always will succeed. 
Think you, sir, if we vote them down now and here, that they will not have 
their Missouri industrial institution — their agricultural college and mining 
school ? The grant was made of land equal in area to Massachusetts, Con- 
necticut, and Rhode Island, and in value equal to $15,000,000, and what for? 
I answer in the words of the grant itself, " to promote the liberal and practical 
education of the industrial classes." No such magnificent grant for objects 
of education was ever before made. The institutions endowed and growing 
out of this grant cannot but produce an effect upon our American civilization. 
The grant has already produced its effect upon our American institutions of 
education. It has encouraged and stimulated the States. It has awakened 
individual munificence, so that within the last ten years (since the grant was 
made, July 2, 1862) such gifts have been made to American institutions of 
learning as never in the history of the world have been made to any object 
or for any purpose. The specific object of the grant is for industrial educa- 
tion : to unite, if you please, head-work and hand-work ; to guide muscle 
by brain ; to get more from the soil ; to multiply and, at the same time, 
save labor by the aid of machinery and invention ; to improve the breed 
of all domestic animals ; to aid in mining operations and the reduction of 
ores; to assist the geologist, the mineralogist, and the chemist — in short, 
to enable men to live better and with less labor, by better understanding the 
laws of nature. 



But there were conditions attached to the grant — it could be accepted 
only with obligations attached. The States were to receive, but they were 
also to do. Not a State refused the grant, and they each agreed to perform 
the conditions and requirements of the Act of Congress making the grant ; 
they, in fact, entered into a solemn contract to do certain things. The State 
of Missouri, by the act of the General Assembly, formally accepted the grant, 
amounting in her case (not counting the reduction of acres when lands with- 
in the railroad belt were taken) to 330,000 acres, and assumed all the obliga- 
tions imposed by the law of Congress. 

The following is the resolution passed unanimously by the General Assem- 
bly of this State, approved March 17, 1863 : Be it 

Resolved, by the General Assembly of the State of Missouri, that the said Act of 
Congress of the United States is assented to and accepted by the State of Missouri, 
with all the conditions, restrictions, and limitations therein contained, and the 
faith of the State of Missouri is hereby pledged to the faithful performance of the 
trust hereby created. 

Now, what are these obligations for the performance of which the faith of 
the State is pledged ? I cannot present them in any better form than in the 
report of the condition of the University, which I had the honor, as president 
of the board of curators, to make to the Governor, in June last, as required 
by law. I will, if you please, read from that document, as the conditions 
and obligations of the State are therein presented : 

1. " The State must provide at least one college ' the object of which shall 
be ' to teach ' branches of learning related to agriculture and the mechanic 
arts, in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial 
classes in the several pursuits and professions of life ' ; ' other scientific and 
classical studies ' are not to be excluded, ' and military tactics are to be 
included.' " 

How shall the State perform this duty ? Shall it be in an enlarged and 
noble spirit, worthy of the State, and worthy of the beneficence of the general 
Government ? 

2. " All expenses of location, management, superintendence, etc., of the 
lands granted, ' and all the expenses in the management and disbursement of 
the moneys received therefrom must be paid by the State out of the treasury 
of the State,' so that the entire proceeds shall be applied, ' without any dim- 
inution whatever,' to the proposed object." 



Expenses in the selection and appraisement of these lands have been in- 
curred from time to time, and under the authority of law have been paid from 
" the treasury of the State." 

3. " No part of the fund nor the interest thereon shall be applied, directly 
or indirectly, under any pretense whatever, to the purchase, erection, preser- 
vation, or repair of any building or buildings." 

This makes it necessary that the State should provide buildings. It is 
most honorable to our American States, East and West, that they have lib- 
erally provided, under the requirements of the Congressional Act, not only 
buildings, but apparatus, libraries, stock for farms, and other material aids 
of instruction. Here is a worthy State rivalry — most beneficial to the States, 
most appreciative of the general Government, which has bestowed so liber- 
ally for objects calculated to advance civilization itself. 

4. " The State, by its act of acceptance, guarantees the capital of the fund, 
so that if by any action or contingency it shall be diminished or lost the State 
is bound to replace it. 

" No grant ever heretofore made by Congress has been so carefully guarded 
from waste or misuse, by the very terms of the grant. Let Missouri do her 
part to make the most of the grant which falls to her by the bounty of the 
general Government." 

This, Mr. President and Senators, seems to me to be required by the obli- 
gation of contract and State faith ; and yet, permit me to say, in even a 
higher degree by the consideration of honor and pride, and of duty to that 
large class, the laboring men and women of the State, for whose special benefit 
Congress in its beneficence and enlarged views designed this noble gift. 

In the great and good enterprise of establishing a new and more suitable 
system of education in the United States — a practical education, without the 
special ornaments of elegant literature, for a practical and working people — 
Congress did a noble part, but the States were required to come in and give 
their aid and cooperation. This was wisely done ; and most magnificently 
have they responded. In the Eastern States the response has been largely 
by individual munificence, and in the Western States by grants and aid from 


How has Missouri responded ? Has she done her part ? Has she come 
up to the standard of other States ? Though having more industrial interests 
than any other State, a wider range and greater variety of employments — 
especially of pursuits requiring the application of science — how has she re- 


sponded to the munificence of Congress ? The answer that we must give 
is that she has done nothing, absolutely nothing ; not a dollar, Mr. President, 
beyond the payment of expenses of selecting and appraising the land. She 
has at Columbia a magnificent domain of land for which she paid nothing; 
she has a noble central university edifice, with some eight or ten other build- 
ings, worth in the aggregate more than $250,000, and they cost her not a 
cent but $10,000, appropriated by an act of the General Assembly of the 
State, approved March 11, 1867, for the purpose of aiding in rebuilding the 
President's house, which had been destroyed by fire ; and that is all for this 
670 acres of land and these buildings intended for the comfort and accom- 
modation of all the sons and daughters of the State. I ask, sir, has any other 
State got so much for so little ? 


Even the industrial scientific building, for the furnishing and equipment 
of which this Bill reported by the committee provides, has been built with- 
out expense to the State, and most admirably adapted to the purposes for 
which it is intended. The bonus of Boone County, to the extent of $20,000, 
has been expended upon it, and there remains upon it a debt to the con- 
tractors of $10,000. To finish this building, and equip and prepare it for 
practical purposes, an appropriation is asked in the Bill now under consider- 
ation, of $39,507.25. 

Mr. President, though I have been familiar from the beginning with the 
generous gifts of Boone County to the State, made in the midst of trial and 
difficulty, and I may say poverty and pecuniary stringency, yet when I look at 
the amount in the aggregate, and look at the results in the State, in buildings 
now belonging to the State and for the benefit of all the children of the State, 
I confess I am myself utterly amazed. They are monuments of which not 
only the people of the County of Boone but the State itself may be justly 


This General Assembly surely cannot consider it too much now to be 
called upon to carry out, in good faith, the establishment of the Agricultural 
College by the erection of suitable buildings and by other necessary prepara- 
tions to complete the institution. Indeed, is not that the very thing which 
Boone County bargained for by the gift of $90,000 as a bonus, every dollar 
of which has been paid, for the location of the Agricultural College ? She 
supposed that by this gift she had obtained the Agricultural and Mechanical 
College, and that the State would meet the solemn pledge, made on the 
acceptance of the Congressional land grant, to furnish all that was necessary 
to complete it. 


Now, I ask, does not good faith to our own citizens, as well as to the 
United States Government, require the making of the appropriation pro- 
vided in this Bill for the benefit of the Agricultural College ? 


It was in no stinted or niggardly spirit that Boone County on her part 
fulfilled her engagement with the State. Let us hear the report of the 
Commissioners on the part of the State, such men as Judge Bliss, Edward 
Wyman, and Professor Matthias. 

After examination, and certifying to the correctness of the title papers 
to the land, and to the fact that the money was duly paid over to the credit 
of the University, they testify in the following terms : 

" That having examined said tract of land, we found the same hand- 
somely improved with valuable buildings, diversified with a variety of soil, 
well watered and timbered, and admirably adapted for the uses and purposes 
of the Agricultural and Mechanical College ; and we further certify that in 
the extent and character of this part of the donation, with the amount of 
money expended to secure it, Boone County has fully and honorably met 
every reasonable expectation, and satisfactorily complied with the obliga- 
tions incurred to the State in the matter of the location of the Agricultural 

This remarkable declaration in an official document, made at the instance 
of the Commissioners from different and distant parts of the State, is most 
honorable to Boone County, and shows her worthy to be the site of a great 
institution of learning. 

She did not higgle over the price of the land she was to give, or attempt 
to put the State off with that which was inferior or low-priced, or unsuitable 
or unimproved. She came nobly up to all she had promised, and to more 
than she promised. Shall this great State fall below the fair dealing and 
generosity of one of her counties ? No, sir, no ; she will never do it. 


And the same argument, Mr. President, applies with equal force to the 
School of Mines and Metallurgy. It is a department — made so by law — 
in the same institution ; located, it is true, in a different part of the State, 
but intended by a proper education to prepare men for making discoveries, 
analyzing and developing the wonderful mineral resources of that region. 
And what a heritage that school will be to us and to our children ; what a 
source of wealth and material power to the State when that vast region — 
stretching from the Mississippi River across the State westward to the 


Indian Territory, and southward to the State of Arkansas, nearly every 
county bearing mineral deposits equal in utility and variety to those found 
in any other State of the Union — shall be carefully explored by practical 
scientific men, and its hidden treasures, touched by the wand of science, 
shall gush forth in streams to enrich the treasury of your State, and to supply 
the wants and increase the comforts of all who are to inhabit this great 
valley. Sir, what may not a school of mines located in the very heart of 
such a bountiful region, and wisely directed, be to the youth and the people 
of the State ? Sir, the County of Phelps has acted no less generously than 
the County of Boone, in securing this institution, and the same obligation 
rests upon the Legislature to furnish and equip all the buildings necessary 
to put the school into successful operation. Already the school is organized, 
under the direction of an efficient and accomplished scholar, Professor 
Charles P. Williams, with two able young men as his assistants. Only 
proper buildings are now needed to make it a success. 

The Agricultural College and the School of Mines, these twin daughters 
of a common mother, were brought simultaneously into existence, are con- 
trolled by the same corporate authority, are located on either side of our 
great river, and constitute a perpetual bond of sympathy betwixt the work- 
ing-men of North and of South Missouri. The one is intended to advance 
in intelligence and power the great agricultural interests of the State, upon 
whose success depends all private and public prosperity; and the other is 
established to develop that wonderful source of material power that has 
enriched every people in the world's history that have possessed it. The 
iron and lead and other rich mineral deposits that are found so abundantly 
within our borders will, if exploited by a liberal and enlightened State 
policy, in time secure to our people all the comforts and the choicest bless- 
ings of life, if not the largest wealth. 

In order that we may see how large has been this liberality on the part 
of both Phelps and Boone Counties, the following statement is presented : 

Gifts of individuals in Boone County, in order to secure the location 

of the University, made in the .year 1839 $1 17,500.00 

Rollins Aid Fund — 

A bequest by Dr. Anthony W. Rollins, to aid young men and 
women in their education. The proceeds were placed at the dis- 
posal of the President of the University, and now amount in gross 

to 30,000.00 

Gift of Boone County, to secure location of Agricultural College . . . 80,000.00 

Town of Columbia, for the same 10,000.00 

Gift of Phelps County, to secure Mining School at Rolla 130,545.00 

Total $368,045.00 


To the above is to be added $500, the sum guaranteed by J. L. Stephens, 
Esq., of Columbia, to found the Stephens prize. 

Now, sir, let us see what the State has done, what amount has been ap- 
propriated from the treasury at different times for other State institutions 
since their establishment, and for their support. I hold in my hand a state- 
ment from the Auditor's office, giving the facts upon this subject as nearly 
as they can be ascertained. 

Statement showing approximate estimate of Aggregate Appropriations made from 
the State Treasury, for the various institutions of the State from their first 
organization to Jan. I, 1872 : 

Total Amount 

Penitentiary $685, 125.87 

Lunatic Asylum 783,622. 83 

Deaf and Dumb Asylum 319,257.20 

Blind Asylum (St. Louis) 200,575.20 

Salaries, Orphans' Home (St. Louis) 50,000.00 

State Capitol 449,797.03 

Normal Schools 12,268.60 

Lincoln Institute 10,000.00 

Military Institute (Lexington) 15,000.00 

State University (Columbia) 10,000.00 


It will be observed, Mr. President, that in the above tables I have referred 
only to those public institutions that are recognized by the Constitution 
and the laws — institutions part of whose support the State has taken upon 
tself, which constitute a part of its public polity, and are an imperative 
demand of our present civilization. These and similar institutions are found 
in every free State ; and a State that was without them would hardly be 
recognized. I do not complain of these appropriations. They were found 
to be necessary and proper, and therefore the legislatures that made them 
were compelled by the obligations resting upon them to do as they did. It 
will be remarked, however, that while Missouri has expended hundreds of 
thousands of dollars from her treasury to erect buildings for the detention 
of criminals ; whilst the insane, the deaf and dumb, the blind, the orphans 
have been cared for by large appropriations from the treasury (all of which 
is right, and meets my cordial approbation) ; whilst various literary institu- 
tions have met with favor at the hands of the Legislature, and appropriations 
have been made from the treasury to sustain them, 



The University, next to the oldest institution in the State, and the only- 
institution recognized and expressly named in the Constitution of the State, 
placed there in the Constitution of 1820 adopted when Missouri was ad- 
mitted into the Union, retained there in every succeeding Constitution, and 
the subject of a clause (article 9, section 3) of our present Constitution, 
which expressly provides, " The General Assembly shall establish and 
maintain a State University, in which there shall be departments in teach- 
ing agricultural and natural science, as soon as the public school fund will 
permit" — this institution, the oldest of the kind in the State, the only one 
named or recognized in the Constitution, standing at the head of our edu- 
cational system, has received only the sum of $10,000 from the State 
treasury, to be expended in the rebuilding of the president's house, which 
had been destroyed by fire. In a period of thirty-four years since the found- 
ing of the institution, this is the only sum that it has received from the 
treasury for purposes of permanent improvements. All the rest of its 
lands, deeded to the State ; its fine buildings, the property of the State ; its 
Normal department; its boarding facilities for the accommodation of students, 
worth more than a quarter of a million of dollars — all these have been the 
generous gifts of the people of Boone County to the State ! I speak, sir, of 
appropriations for permanent improvements upon the University grounds. 
It is true that by an act of the General Assembly, approved March n, 1867, 
in addition to the $10,000 mentioned, the sum of 1^ per cent, of the State 
revenue was set apart, according to the express authority of article 9, section 
4 of the Constitution, for the maintenance of the institution, and the whole 
amount derived from that source, up to this date, is betwixt $40,000 and 
$50,000; and, sir, this is all (except debts paid and due the institution) 
that the great State of Missouri in more than a quarter of a century has 
appropriated from her treasury for the support and maintenance of the State 
University. All the rest has come from private and county beneficence. I 
am particular in the accurate statement of these facts in order to correct a 
wrong impression existing in the public mind upon this subject. Many 
people, and even legislators, believe that the University has been during its 
existence the constant recipient of large pecuniary appropriations from the 
State treasury ; but this is not the case. I have stated the facts correctly, 
and they will not be disputed by candid men. 


But, sir, I wish to put the proposed measure of aid and relief to the State 
University, and its agricultural and mechanical departments, upon higher 


and more liberal grounds than those of mere contract, if, indeed, there 
can be any higher. I have endeavored to do so. I would make my appeal 
to a great and magnanimous State, increasing with unexampled rapidity in 
every element of power and wealth. Our population now is more than 
1,800,000 inhabitants. It will, during the present decade, reach at least 
2,500,000. But wealth increases in yet a higher ratio. I have not the 
census tables of 1870 — they are not yet published — but in every prosper- 
ous country wealth increases in a greater ratio than population. The 
actual increase of wealth in the United States from 1850 to i860 was, 
according to the census of i860, no less than 130 per cent., while the in- 
crease of population was a fraction under 36 per cent. The increase of 
wealth in Missouri from 1870 to 1880 will be in yet a higher ratio. It cannot 
be less than 200 per cent. The small amount asked in this Bill, and for 
other State institutions, is not even worthy of thought or consideration, in 
view of such facts and figures. 


It is a matter of pride that, while Congress has done so much, the differ- 
ent State Legislatures have, without exception thus far, done a noble part 
towards building up the industrial colleges. This has encouraged Senator 
Morrill, who introduced the original Bill donating land to the States for the 
benefit of colleges of agriculture and the mechanic arts, to introduce a new 
one, making still further donations for the same object. 


And shall Missouri alone, of all the American States, fail in the grand 
work of supporting her Agricultural College and School of Mines ? It must 
not and cannot be. We cannot maintain our rank as a State, and do so. 


Mr. President, we are to a great extent influenced by the actions of 
others ; we are so as individuals, and no less as States. Could any State, 
for example, maintain its rank at this day as a Christian and civilized com- 
munity, that should fail in the establishment and support of what are called 
the State benevolent institutions, such as lunatic asylums, deaf and dumb, 
and blind asylums ? Surely not. And have not the State Universities be- 
come part and parcel of State civilization, and under our Constitution, 
quoted above, a part of the State system ; and can a State at this day refuse 
support to her institutions of this character ? No State can do it. Missouri 


shall not. She must come up to the standard of the times, or fall back in 
public consideration ; she must stand abreast with her sister States in the 
great work of educational advancement. I beg leave to read here again from 
the report to which I have referred, to show what other States have done for 
their institutions of education. 

"The present General Assembly of Illinois, as the Secretary of State 
writes to Dr. Read, appropriated to the Illinois Industrial University a sum 
total of no less than $265,200; and this over and above all former appro- 
priations and its large income from endowments. To that sum, $75,000 
has just been added. 

" The State of California gave her university at Oakland $245,000 in 
coin, in order to start it in a manner becoming its high destiny, and worthy 
of the State. 

" Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, and even Nebraska have made 
provisions for their universities and industrial institutions by the appropria- 
tion of thousands of dollars, and of even hundreds of thousands. Nebraska 
gave $150,000 for the erection of her university buildings. 

" No State has better understood how to raise up great men among her 
sons than Virginia. According to a recent statement of the chairman of the 
faculty, that State has given to her university a grand total of $1,044,304. 
She has given tuition fees to 1,081 students, known as State students, and 
has boarded a large number free of charge. It is estimated by the same 
authority that the amount brought into and retained in the State by the 
university is no less than $4,476,800. Even in the days of her poverty she 
forgets not her university. The recent appropriations amount to $82,545. 

" Shall our great central State of Missouri, so rich in all the elements of 
wealth and civilization, fall far below her sister States around her; or rather 
shall she not be pointed to as a model and example for her spirit and liber- 
ality in sustaining her university upon the broad basis on which by her Con- 
stitution and laws she has established it? " 

To this statement much more might be added, showing such munificence 
in behalf of institutions of learning as the world has never before witnessed. 

I know, Mr. President, there has been a prejudice against what we call 
colleges or universities. But we must remember that these institutions for 
which this appropriation is asked are intended especially for the working 
classes. They are not merely literary institutions for the advantage of those 
who are preparing themselves for the learned professions. We should fol- 
low the advice and example of the great men of the republic. Thomas 
Jefferson, the apostle of American liberty and of true democracy, appre- 
ciated the importance of such institutions of learning for the American peo- 
ple. He had represented our Government at the most brilliant courts of 
Europe ; he was the third President of the United States, and he had held 


other important positions, yet when he came to die he did not choose to rest 
his fame upon the flimsy idea that he had been promoted to high offices, but 
upon the more enduring basis, that he had aided in planting the principles 
of political liberty and religious freedom in our soil, and in founding a great 
institution of learning where the people might be taught to understand, to 
maintain, and to defend their rights. The epitaph written by his own hand, 
and inscribed upon the marble that marks his last resting-place, reads 




Declaration of American Independence, 


Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, 


Father of the University of Virginia. 

Sir, we have seen enough of poor, starveling institutions, that have high- 
sounding names and lofty pretensions, but no means whatever for the scien- 
tific instruction that the present status of education requires, and which 
therefore have no credit at home and abroad. The country is sick of them. 
We surely do not wish the first educational institution under the patronage 
of the State to be of this class. As citizens of Missouri we wish it to be of 
the very highest type, so that we shall have a just State pride in it; so that 
the stranger or foreigner when he thinks of Missouri will think of her great 
industrial institutions as part and parcel of the State, just as when he thinks 
of Michigan her university is first in his thoughts, or when of Connecticut 
it is Yale College, or of Virginia it is her university that rises spontaneously 
to his mind. As Missourians we cannot have our university any less. We 
have already excellent foundations; we can soon realize our best and highest 
wishes. Already our institution is beginning to command the attention of 
the most distinguished educators; its plans and method are beginning to 
attract attention. Will you see it starve for the want of nutriment ? Will 
you ignore it just as it is beginning to assume a position amongst the great 
institutions of the nation? 


I would, Mr. President, by every proper inducement, by affording every 
encouragement, by furnishing the highest advantages, gather the youth of the 


State in hundreds if not in thousands. I would make it a great fountain of 
knowledge in all departments; I would throw wide open the doors, and in- 
vite all to enter without money and without price. I would place it far above 
the polluting influence of party strife and contention, and equally so above 
that of the contests of religious sects. It should be sacred to the best secular 
knowledge, to a sound Christian morality, and thus to the true interests of 
civilization. This, sir, is my ideal of what the State University of Missouri 
ought to be, and what you have it in your power to make it. Let this Bill 
become a law, and the stability and prosperity of the university will, in my 
judgment, be assured. 


This appropriation is asked essentially for the benefit of the working-men 
of the State. It is for their education and their elevation that we are now 
asked for the first time to do something. Sir, who pay the taxes ? Who 
build the cities and the railroads ? Who convert the wilderness into fruitful 
and smiling fields ? Who fight the battles of the nation ; who are its bul- 
wark, its hope, and its stay ? Who, but the farmers and the mechanics, the 
miners and the laboring men ? It has been justly said of one of these classes 
of citizens by one of the ripest scholars and ablest financiers this or any 
other land has produced, that " It may not be foretold to what dangers the 
country is destined when its swelling population, its expanding territory, its 
daily complicating interests shall awaken the latent passions of man and reveal 
the vulnerable points of our institutions. But whenever these perils come, its 
most steadfast security, its unfailing reliance, will be on that column of landed 
proprietors, the men of the soil and of the country, standing aloof from the 
passions which agitate denser communities ; well educated, brave, and inde- 
pendent ; the friends of the Government without soliciting its favors, the 
advocates of the people without descending to flatter their passions. These 
men, rooted like their own forests, may yet interpose between the factions ot 
the country, to heal, to defend, and to save." 

How important, then, that they should have all the advantages of educa- 
tion, and of liberal culture, that this measure is intended to give. 


Mr. President, no one should conclude from what I have said that I do 
not feel an equally warm interest in the success of all other higher institutions 
of learning in the State, whether they be independent or denominational. 
But it is not our province as legislators to deal with them ; we have only to 
provide for that system which the State itself has established and pledged 


itself to maintain. However, sir, as they all constitute different parts of those 
great moral and educational agencies set on foot to enlighten and elevate the 
people, I am for upholding and sustaining all of them. They are needed 
in our country, and must be multiplied to meet the increasing wants of our 
rapidly advancing civilization. One of these institutions, William Jewell 
College, which is located in Clay County, and bears the honored name of a 
former distinguished and patriotic citizen of my County of Boone, Dr. William 
Jewell, now gone to his rest, and was founded by his liberality, and which 
has been largely increased by the contributions of other noble men of my own 
and other counties of the State, is in its highest prosperity, and I cannot feel 
other than the deepest solicitude for its success. And, planted in the town 
where I reside, there are two institutions for the education of women, one of 
them, Stephens College, called after another of our most public-spirited cit- 
izens, James L. Stephens, of Columbia, upon whose large endowment the 
institution principally rests ; and the other, Christian Female College, built 
up by the means of its distinguished president, Elder Joseph K. Rogers, with 
the aid of others, and by long years of his patient care and labor until it has 
become one of the first female educational institutions of the West. In these 
and all similar establishments I shall continue to feel the deepest interest, 
and shall exert my poor influence to advance them wherever they may be 
located or by whomsoever endowed and sustained. 

Mr. President, I have thus, in a poor way, presented to the Senate my 
views on this measure. And I confess, sir, that besides these public con- 
siderations which I have mentioned, and which alone ought to govern our 
action, there are personal considerations why I feel some anxiety about the 
passage of this Bill. Thirty-four years ago, before the building of this capitol, 
I came here a youth, barely eligible to a seat in the General Assembly of the 
State, as a member of the House of Representatives from the County of 
Boone. The first Bill I ever wrote was one providing for the location of the 
University of the State. The first speech I ever made in a legislative body 
was in advocacy of the passage of this Bill. Under it the institution was 
located in the County of Boone, the people there having given the largest 
sum to secure it. I have been its steady friend and advocate ever since. I 
have been the author of other measures to strengthen and make it permanent, 
useful, and respectable. It has passed through the usual vicissitudes of 
literary and scientific institutions placed under the guidance and direction 
of political bodies, but it is now nearly safe from danger from this source. 
Resting secure on the larger intelligence of the people, and in the affections 
and confidence of the well-educated young men and women who have hitherto 
gone, and will continue to go, out from the walls of their alma mater as faith- 
ful sons and daughters — it will be shielded against the assaults of those who 
would attempt either to wound or to destroy it. In time it will have an 


ample endowment, with its departments greatly extended. Presided over by 
an experienced and enlightened President, with a full corps of learned and 
faithful professors, if at this session of the General Assembly a Bill intro- 
duced by myself shall become law, making it substantially free to all the 
youth of the State, male and female, between the ages of sixteen and twenty- 
five years, its progress must be rapid, both upward and onward. Let the State 
continue to do its duty (and there can be no complaint that the Legislature has 
failed to make the amplest provision for both elementary and secondary 
education), and there is no reason to doubt that in a few years Missouri will 
boast of an institution of learning equal to any in the West ; and in the 
course of time, when ours shall be the great central State of the American 
Union, unequaled in wealth and population and political influence, the 
people who shall succeed us may boast of an institution rivaling and even 
surpassing those grand ones planted in the olden times, whose fame has come 
down to us through revolutions, and changes, and the gloomy mists of the 
centuries — those of Cordova, of Padua, of Salamanca, of Paris, of Oxford, 
and of Cambridge, not to mention those of more modern growth, Yale and 
Harvard, in our own country. 

Since I first entered this General Assembly, Mr. President, many changes 
have taken place, the course of empire has taken its way Westward. This 
country was then a wilderness — even almost immediately around us. I look 
about me in this Senate Chamber, and through the hall of the House of 
Representatives, and I find that nearly all my contemporaries have left these 
halls, and their sons (pointing to Senator Birch) are taking their places, or else 
directing their energies to other pursuits of life. A still larger number of them, 
having finished their labors on earth, have gone to 

The undiscovered country, from whose bourne 
No traveler returns. 

Standing amongst you I feel, sir, almost alone. I am next to the oldest 
Senator on this floor ; my legislative career is nearly closed. I have seen 
much public service, and, whilst I may have committed many errors, I feel 
that I can say my aims have been unselfish, and I have endeavored to pro- 
mote the public good ; and borrowing an illustration from my great model in 
political life I say : If the General Assembly will pass this Bill, I will retire 
from these halls ; I will go to my home at Lagrange, on the hospitable banks 
of the Hingston, and there, with a people who have honored me beyond my 
deserts, amidst my flocks and herds, beneath the shades of my trees, in the 
bosom of an affectionate family, enjoy an attachment and fidelity that we 
seldom meet with in the walks of public life. 



Before the Congressional Convention Assembled in St. Louis, May 13, 

14, 75, 1873. 

Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Congressional Convention : A task 
has been imposed upon me, urged upon me, that I was afraid to under- 
take, and which, more than ever as I rise before you, I feel the difficulty of 
fulfilling. I have been requested to make a speech before the first speech- 
making body in the world, a body that hears more good speeches, and 
perhaps more bad ones, than any other assemblage of mortal men. I am 
appointed to " carry coals to Newcastle," a most unprofitable venture, but 
I will promise that in such a commerce my cargo shall be a very small one. 

This is the first time that the Congress of the United States of America 
(not exactly, it is true, in its organized capacity) has met west of the great 
" Father of Waters," and yet not far enough west to be in the centre of our 
expanded country. But we promise ourselves that it will not be the last 
time that they will meet us here, either in their organized form or at any 
rate as individuals, to study the interests of our mighty republic ; and in this 
great central city of the nation — it may be " The Future Great City of the 
World " — to behold for themselves the channels of commerce extending 
away to the north and to the west, by thousands upon thousands of miles; 
then again stretching to the south and to the east, by other thousands, and 
concentrating here where you stand all the advantages of business, creating 
such an emporium for receiving and distributing all the productions of 
industry, and all the good things bestowed by the bountiful hand of nature 
for the benefit of man, as I undertake to say does not exist elsewhere in our 
country, and is not surpassed upon the face of the globe. 

But whether meeting you here in the one form or the other, we greet you 
with warm Western hearts ; we meet you as our common countrymen, 
bound to you by all the ties of patriotism ; we meet you with the respect 
and deference due your exalted position as members of the grandest legis- 
lative council — the most potent for good or for evil — that ever sat any- 
where or in any age, from the beginning of time ; we come to you with our 
hearts in our hands ; and our speech, though it may be plain and blunt, 
shall be hearty and sincere. 


And let it be understood, once for all, that this is in no sense a sectional 
or party assemblage, any more than would be a convention to consider the 
question of improving the harbors on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, in 
order to protect the commerce of the oceans, or to improve the navigation 
of the lakes on the north, or of the Gulf of Mexico on the south ; or a 
meeting to stimulate and develop, to encourage and foster any one or more 
of the great industries of the country, in order thereby to increase the 
general wealth and happiness of the entire people. Far, far from it ! The 
day for the meeting of mere sectional conventions, with a view to obtain 
some supposed local advantage, or to awaken the political animosity and 
strife of one section against another section, has I trust passed — forever 
passed. The only subject upon which sectional parties have been formed 
hitherto in our country has been blotted out — removed forever from our 
political discussions, and buried in deep oblivion, from whence even its 
ghost may never again emerge to disturb the public peace and tranquillity. 

We wish to confer with you in regard to wants and interests that con- 
cern not merely ourselves but the whole nation, and, indeed, the world 
itself, for the old doctrine of rival and adverse interests is almost expunged 
from a true economic, as well as a Christian, philosophy. Still more should 
it be utterly banished from the sections of the same common country. 

We come before you, then, rather as citizens of one country than of a 
particular section of it ; and when we point you to special and sectional 
advantages or resources, we say to you, Behold ! all these belong to our 
great and glorious country ; they are a common property ; they belong to 
you, as well as to ourselves. Protect, foster, support, develop them all — 
not for a section, but for the whole country ; nay, more, for the whole 
civilized and commercial world. 

We Americans — and especially, we of the West — are sometimes charged 
with magnifying ourselves — magnifying our country, our prospects, our 
resources, our energies ; in short, that our every-day language is full of 
figures, hyperboles, and all manner of extravagances. But what language, 
I ask, can come up to the reality, to what we ourselves have seen and 
experienced ? The soberest statement of facts, and made even in the driest 
statistical and arithmetical forms, seems like the very dreams of oriental 
magnificence. Facts so wonderful that the bare recital of them seems to 
others wild and extravagant have become to us quite common. Why, but 
a few decades since, the very spot where you stand was foreign soil and 
beyond the limits of the United States ; now, you are not even midway, and 
must travel yet hundreds of miles to the west before you reach the territorial 
centre. You are hardly even in the centre of the great valley of the Mis- 
sissippi, which drains a thirty-sixth part of the land surface of the globe 
itself, and which, rising near the great lakes of the North (so near as to 


make their shores tributary to the trade of its valley), and flowing through 
more than twenty degrees of latitude, affords a variety of productions, for 
commercial interchange, compared with which those of the valley of the 
Amazon or the shores of the Mediterranean must, even under the highest 
development, remain utterly insignificant. The Mediterranean system and 
the valley of the Amazon are limited in their products by the climatic 
uniformity of a single zone. Here is a valley developing itself northward 
and southward, in extent of area 2,231,000 square miles; all of it now a 
part of our country, and under the jurisdiction of the Congress of the United 
States. Why, the whole territory of the original thirteen States, embraced 
within their actual boundaries, was but 341,756 square miles, exclusive of 
the northwestern territory ; and our entire domain to-day is 3,527,684 square 
miles, including Alaska, while the valley of the Mississippi is two-thirds of 
that area. This vast valley with its inconceivable riches from its soil and 
from under its soil — from its cereals, its cotton, tobacco, hemp and fruits, 
from its ores, its quarries, its forests; with everything needed for human 
sustenance, comfort, and civilization; with possibilities beyond even con- 
ception or comprehension ; lying, too, in the centre of the continent, with 
no Alpine ranges to bar its outlets — what, to-day, is its chief want, its 
imperative necessity ? It is that the channels which the Almighty has 
furnished shall be improved and made available by man's skill and labor; 
and to use the very language of the Executive Committee in inviting you to 
this conference, our object is to " secure your cooperation towards obtaining 
such national legislation as will insure the improvement of the present, and 
the opening up of new water-lines of transportation to the seaboard." It 
is the very order of Providence that we should do our part, and we must do 
it to enjoy the beneficence of our Creator. 

" The river navigation of the Great West," said Mr. Benton, " is the most 
wonderful on the globe ; and, since the application of steam-power to the 
propulsion of vessels, it possesses the essential qualities of open navigation. 
Speed, distance, cheapness, magnitude of cargoes are all there, and without 
the perils of the sea from storms and enemies. The steamboat is the ship of 
the river, and finds in the Mississippi and its tributaries the amplest theater 
for the diffusion and display of its power. Wonderful river ! connected with 
seas by the head and by the mouth ; stretching its arms toward the Atlantic 
and the Pacific ; lying in a valley which is a valley from the Gulf of Mexico 
to Hudson's Bay ; drawing its first waters, not from rugged mountains, but 
from the plateau of the lakes in the centre of the continent, and in commu- 
nication with the sources of the St. Lawrence and the streams which take 
their course north to Hudson's Bay ; draining the largest extent of the rich- 
est land ; collecting the products of every clime, even the frigid, to bear the 
whole to market in the South, there to meet the products of the entire world. 


Such is the Mississippi ! and who can calculate the aggregate of its advan- 
tages, and the magnitude of its future results ? " This river and its tributaries 
float annually upon their bosoms more than $2,000,000,000 of commerce, 
which is an excess of more than $1,000,000,000 over our foreign commerce, 
and nearly $2,000,000,000 in excess of our own carrying trade, coastwise 
and foreign. 

Were there an absolute and total famine over all the rest of the earth, and 
were no iron produced elseAvhere on the globe, and were there no productions 
for human housing or clothing, we could from this valley supply the whole 
twelve hundred millions of the human race, and provide, too, for their rapid 
increase in case they should stop killing each other by war. 

Not only our sister States, east and south, but the commercial world itself 
stretches forth its arms for our supplies. 

Cheap transportation to the seaboard is the demand. Water communica- 
tion by the very channels of nature is to be provided, or channels are to be 
constructed by art where nature has pointed out the course. 

More than half a century ago, and before the invention of railroads, a system 
of water communication was projected, embracing the entire territory of the 
United States. It was under the inspiration of that movement, that DeWitt 
Clinton started and carried to completion the great Erie Canal, connecting 
the waters of the Lakes with the Hudson River, opening up for settlement 
and cultivation the vast wilderness of western New York, giving a partial 
outlet to the rapidly increasing productions of the country still further west, 
and adding incalculably to the wealth of the Empire State. For a time, rail- 
roads became the popular enterprise. The " raging canal," with its snail-like 
pace, was forgotten in the more fascinating mode of travel and transit afforded 
by the locomotive, annihilating space and bounding over the country at the 
rate of from twenty to forty miles an hour ! 

A still wider scope of country was opened up ; immigration poured in from 
every direction ; towns and cities sprung into existence as if by the enchanter's 
wand ; and the great Northwest, hitherto a wilderness under the dominion of 
the savage and the wild beast, smiled with fruitful fields and happy homes. 
Land carriage, and especially for heavy freights — the multifarious produc- 
tions of a country so fertile and so vast in extent, and increasing with such 
incredible rapidity in population — cannot supply the need, both on account 
of the lack of facilities, and the great cost to the producer in reaching the 
best markets of the country. The old idea again becomes new. The demand 
for safe and cheap transportation is revived. Old schemes and new schemes 
of internal improvement for utilizing our great rivers, and uniting the waters 
of different States by canals, thus shortening distances, is again becoming the 
order of the day, and the cry is heard on every hand : water communication 
for heavy freights ; the railroad for rapid travel and lighter burdens. 


I do not stop to inquire which of the numerous projects named is the most 
important, or which of them should first receive the national aid. Let this 
be decided after a careful survey by competent scientific men, and by the 
wisdom of Congress, after all the facts have been carefully collected, estimates 
of the cost made, and the relative importance and pressing need of different 
improvements fully considered. Among others may be mentioned the Lake 
and St. Lawrence route ; the junction of the Ohio and Potomac, and of the 
James and Kanawha Rivers; the Mississippi and Gulf route; Lake Erie 
Canal and Hudson River route ; the Atlantic and Great Western Canal, unit- 
ing the waters of the Mississippi Valley with the rivers of Georgia, eastern 
Alabama, and South Carolina. 

Regarding this latter project I may be permitted to quote a short para- 
graph from a recent address of Governor Smith, of Georgia : 

" The route for the proposed Atlantic and Great Western Canal has at 
last been found, as recent surveys fully demonstrate, and it passes through 
the State of Georgia. This work will furnish the cheap transportation so 
much needed by the whole country, will open a home market for our varied 
products more attractive than that which the West now finds abroad, and in 
my judgment will cure the trouble complained of without resorting to the 
extraordinary expedient above referred to. 

" Uniting, as it will do, two great systems of navigation, its importance 
to the whole country is so evident as to require no discussion. That it will 
greatly increase the production of cotton is firmly believed; that it will fur- 
nish a home market of vast value to the food-producing section requires no 
demonstration; and that it will give us of the South what we most need — 
direct trade with foreign lands, immigration to fill and build up our waste 
places, and an increase of capital for the development of our resources — 
is susceptible of the clearest proof. The route has been surveyed and found 
eminently feasible. The verdict of the country pronounces it a work of 
national importance and necessity, and what now remains to be done is to 
devise the best and surest means for its speedy accomplishment." 

The Congressional Committee charged with inquiring into the necessity 
for such a canal furnishes some valuable information in relation thereto. 
The main features of the route are thus indicated: 

Commencing at Guntersville, the most southern point reached by the 
Tennessee River, thence to Coosa River, thirty miles distant, which it 
enters and follows to Rome, Georgia, up to which point that stream is navi- 
gable for large steamboats at all seasons of the year. 

From Rome the canal follows the Etowah River to its point of nearest 
contact with the Ocmulgee, and thence down the latter stream to navigable 
waters and the Atlantic Ocean. 

By this means the entire navigable waters of Alabama, east Mississippi 


and west Florida will be connected with the vast inland sea, comprised in 
the term "Mississippi River and its tributaries"; also with the navigable 
system of South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and a part of North Carolina, 
embracing about 5,000 miles of water easily navigated by vessels of light 
draught, used upon canals. These vessels would penetrate the streams and 
estuaries above referred to into almost every portion of these six States — 
States that produce the major portion of the cotton raised upon this conti- 

The census of 1870 shows that Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, and 
Florida — the States that will be directly affected by the construction of 
this canal — had an aggregate population of 3,074,455. These States pro- 
duce 57,215,600 bushels of grain. Their average consumption, according 
to data furnished by the Bureau of Statistics, is 104,521,470 bushels. This 
leaves a deficit of 47,305,870 bushels to be supplied by other States. As 
the larger portion of this grain is needed along the seaboard, in what is 
known as the cotton belt, we may assume the distance from St. Louis to 
Savannah as the average distance it is moved. This would make the cost 
of transporting each ton $14.40, at 1^ cents per ton per mile. 

These States produce 2682 hogsheads of sugar, 172,233,812 lbs. of rice, 
and 1,167,705 bales of cotton. The number of bales equals nearly half the 
cotton product of the United States. The value of the cotton crop of these 
States exceeds $144,000,000. 

The great need of this section is cheap food. Its soil and climate are 
not adapted to the production of grain, and the high prices of breadstuffs 
have retarded its development. The opening of the proposed canal will 
supply this need. 

The census gives the average price of corn in these States at 97 cents per 
bushel, and wheat at $1.91. In many counties, and especially in the cot- 
ton belt, corn is seldom less than $1.50 per bushel, and often more than 

The scarcity of food, and the excessive prices demanded, force the tilling 
of more than 5,000,000 of acres in these States for grain. This takes away 
from the production of cotton about one-half the labor and capital of the 
South. These acres, planted in cotton, would add 2,500,000 bales to our 
export, and increase the value of that export about $200,000,000 annually, 
which would cause the wealth of the world to flow towards us, instead of 
away from us as it has been doing in times past. 

To complete the last-named improvement, bringing with it all the advan- 
tages so clearly pointed out by Governor Smith of Georgia, in his late ad- 
dress to the entire nation, would not cost the United States Government 
one-fourth the amount that has heretofore been given by Congress to a 
single line of railroad. 


For several reasons I should make at least some reference to another 
route : I mean the connection of the waters of the James and the Kana- 
wha called the James River and Kanawha Canal. There are many 
pleasant memories connected with this great project. The idea of a con- 
nection by water of the navigable waters of the James with the navigable 
waters of the Ohio, and thereby with the whole Mississippi Valley, has for 
its author and earliest advocate a person no less distinguished than George 
Washington himself. 

It appears that for years prior to the War of the Revolution this impor- 
tant project had occupied his serious consideration. His plan embraced a 
double connection between the waters of the Mississippi Valley and those 
of the Atlantic States : one by the Potomac River on the east, and the 
Monongahela on the west, to the point where Pittsburg now stands; and the 
other by the James River, on the east, and the Kanawha on the west, to the 
Ohio, at the mouth of the Kanawha, two hundred and eighty-four miles 
below Pittsburg. 

If time permitted me to go into it, the whole history of this improvement 
would be exceedingly interesting. Of Washington it has been most appro- 
priately said, that if he had left no other record of his statesmanship than 
his wise, but poorly followed up, efforts to secure to his native State the 
advantages and standing which nature intended for her, to the great 
benefit of the whole country, those alone would have placed him in the 
front rank of the wise and far-seeing statesmen of his age. 

Up to the beginning of the year i860 there had been completed of this 
work upon the original plan (the same as that of the Erie Canal before its 
enlargement) one hundred and ninety-seven miles from tidewater at Rich- 
mond to Buchanan, besides twenty-nine and one-half miles of lateral canal ; 
and there had been expended in construction the sum of $11,785,455, be- 
sides the further sum of $3,034,845 of net earnings in the payment of annui- 
ties, interest, etc. 

And now Virginia, all stricken with poverty as she is, but still true to her 
grand and noble instincts as when she gave to the United States the great 
Northwest Territory, embracing an empire within itself, proposes to turn 
over to the general Government, free of cost, this work of improvement upon 
the sole condition that it shall be completed. 

Neither the enterprise of a single State, nor the united efforts of States 
impoverished by war, can accomplish these improvements. They require 
and demand assistance from the strong arm of the national Government, 
and being themselves national in character they should receive the requisite 
aid. The Pacific Railroad, the miracle of our country, would not have been 
built in half a century by relying alone upon individual effort or depending 
upon distant and sparsely populated States ; but with the assistance derived 


from the general Government it was begun in the very midst of civil war 
and rebellion, and completed in the short space of six years from the time 
of its commencement. Are not the people of the whole country equally in- 
terested in these cheap lines of water communication? Every additional 
bale of cotton, or hogshead of tobacco or sugar, or tierce of rice raised 
in the South adds to the national wealth, in the same manner as the larger 
production of wheat, tobacco, hemp, corn, fruits, or stock, or in the manu- 
facturing industries; and these can only be stimulated, and produced with 
profit to the great laboring population of the country, by affording them easy 
and cheap transportation over the continent, and by giving them an outlet 
across the ocean to the distant marts of the world. 

This, I say, is the demand, the necessity, the cry of the people, the voice 
of the nation itself. The Congress of the United States, State Legislatures, 
voluntary assemblies, all make this the great topic of discussion. 

In a lecture delivered in February last, before the American Institute, by 
Professor William J. McAlpine, the following striking comparison was made 
between the transportation capacity of the canals and that of the railroads, 
and between the actual transportation by the Erie Canal and that by all the 
trunk railroads in the United States : 

" With many persons there is an idea that the railway has superseded the 
canal, and that it now performs the chief part of the traffic of the country. 
While this is true in regard to interior short lines of trade, it is a serious 
error in reference to the great transportation between the agricultural West 
and the Atlantic. The Erie Canal, during the season of navigation, con- 
veys more of this traffic than all the railroads together; more than all the 
trunk lines from the St. Lawrence to the Potomac. The boats which come 
to tide-water have an average cargo exceeding that carried by the longest 
freight train on the Central Railway. During the busy season more than 
150 such boats arrive daily, and their tonnage would require more than 150 
freight trains. The greatest number is but thirty per day, on the Central 
Railway. The Erie Canal, therefore, is performing more than five times as 
much business as the Central Railway. Yet the slow, plodding canal-boat 
attracts no attention, though burdened with more tons than the bustling, 
noisy, whirling freight train, which creates a sensation in every village 
through which it passes. The 4000 canal-boats, of an aggregate of 1,000,- 
000 of tonnage, moving 5,000,000 tons of cargo per annum, exceed the 
tonnage of the vessels engaged in the foreign commerce of this city [New 
York] even before the war." 

But it is to be borne in mind that the water communication is not all by 
canal. The river and lake portion is much cheaper : the one less than half 
as high, and the other only one-third as high as that by the canal. 


When I look back upon our history, and the great progress of events, I 
feel that there are no impossibilities for our people. I have already referred 
to our territorial extensions — Louisiana, Florida, Texas, California, Alaska 
— some of which were much opposed by good and true men, more on 
account of the improper means of acquisition than from any decided dislike 
to the extension of empire. And I observe a statement in the public press 
in the last few days that a distinguished citizen of our country has very 
recently made a contract with the Mexican government to build a railroad 
from the City of Mexico to our frontier line. What does this mean ? What 
comes next ? It is the shadow of the coming event. 

There is, then, our unparalleled increase in population. Since our con- 
stitutional government was begun in 1789, our numbers have risen from 
less than 4,000,000 to more than 40,000,000, and in the near future will rise 
to more than 100,000,000. State, too, has been added to State, until from 
the old thirteen we are now thirty-seven, and with eleven territories soon to 
be admitted to the common sisterhood ; and if we take the very State where 
we stand, now the fifth in the Union, and that great State so ably repre- 
sented here, upon which we cast our eyes across the noble Mississippi, these 
two alone, then a wilderness, now have more population, wealth, and power 
of production than the original thirteen. 

Governor Woodson, in his very interesting speech yesterday, referred to 
the mineral and agricultural wealth of Missouri alone. But he did not tell 
it all. This would require a volume. Behold her with 2,000,000 inhabit- 
ants, closing up in population, wealth, and power with the great States of 
our blessed Union ! With her 45,000,000 of acres of land diversified with 
prairie and forest; 15,000,000 for ordinary farming; 13,000,000 for hemp; 
5,000,000 for grapes; 2,000,000 for mining; 100,000,000 tons of coal 
annually for 1300 years; 230,000,000 tons of iron above the ground; with 
lead at five hundred points; copper in fifteen counties; gold, zinc, tin, 
nickel, cobalt, emery, granite, marble, limestone, pipe-clay, and metallic 
paints, within a hundred miles of St. Louis, exciting the wonder and cupid- 
ity of the adventurous and enterprising of other States ! Considering the 
development of this enormous wealth that must take place within the 
nineteenth century, every one must see that all our rivers and all the canals 
and railroads that are likely to be built will be needed in order to enable us 
to reach the markets of our country and of the world. 

If we look back only to 1830, there were but twenty-three miles of railroad 
completed in the United States ; now we have upwards of 60,000 miles, 
more than equal to all the railroads of Europe, if not of the world. Then 
there is the wonderful telegraph system, one of the miracles of our day, trans- 
mitting thought with lightning rapidity, girdling the earth, and binding men 


together in instant sympathy. It would have been utterly beyond the con- 
ception of men of the past generation ; they could not have believed what is 
now simply an every-day business affair. 

The late Senator Mahlon Dickerson, a graduate of Princeton, President 
of the American Institute, Governor of New Jersey, and Judge of the Supreme 
Court of that State, sixteen years a United States Senator, and afterwards 
Secretary of the Navy under the administration of General Jackson and Mr. 
Van Buren, made a speech in the Senate in 1825, in which he ridiculed the 
idea of Oregon ever becoming a State of the Union, inasmuch as, according 
to his calculation, it was 4650 miles from Washington to the mouth of the 
Columbia River. He showed that an able-bodied Congressman, traveling at 
the rate of thirty miles a day, would have to spend in going to and coming 
from the seat of government three hundred and fifty days, which would allow 
him two weeks to sit as a member, and the rest of the time he must be " on 
the tramp." But he adds, " He might come more expeditiously by water 
round Cape Horn, or through Behring's Straits, round the north coast of the 
continent to Baffin's Bay, thence through Davis Strait to the Atlantic, and so 
on to Washington. It was true," he said, " the passage had not been dis- 
covered, except on the maps, but it would be as soon as Oregon would be a 
State ! " Oregon has now been a State in the American Union for fourteen 
years ! And what does the world now think of Senator Dickerson's predic- 
tion ? Why, for all practical purposes of communication the American Union 
is actually less in territory than at the Revolution — the 3,527,684 square 
miles less than the 341,000 square miles. 

On this subject of safe, rapid, feasible transportation, I must be permitted 
to give, not the prediction of a politician in a Congressional speech, but the 
mathematical demonstration of a scientific savant made from mathematical 
data. Dr. Dionysius Lardner, in 1835, made a demonstration in which he 
showed, by veritable proofs, that the Atlantic did not admit of steam naviga- 
tion from Liverpool to New York ! He had hardly completed his problem, 
when his mathematical impossibility had become an accomplished fact, and 
the thing was actually done which the learned scientist had proved never 
could be done. 

We can do all we resolve to do, and all we consider necessary to be done. 
The Suez Canal, changing the commerce of the world, the Mont Cenis 
Tunnel, the Pacific Railroad are works done before our very eyes. 

What does it amount to that some of our navy officers have reported the 
impossibility of cutting a channel across the Isthmus of Panama ? The work 
will be done within the present quarter of a century ; and its effect upon this 
city, and upon this whole valley, is beyond calculation or computation. We 
repeated the words of Mr. Benton, upon the completion of the Pacific Rail- 
road ; still more may we do so when the great inter-oceanic channel shall be 


completed : " There is the East, there is India ! " There they are by water 
communication to this great central emporium. But if we are to have the full 
fruition of this great work, how much is to be done in opening water channels 
throughout this great valley, in improving them, in removing obstacles, in 
cutting canals, and otherwise providing for cheap transportation ? 

However much we may value railroads, and do value them, we must, for 
our hundreds and thousands of tons of produce, provide a cheap transporta- 
tion ; and this is done by water at a rate six times less than that by rail, with 
its constant wear and tear, its multitude of employees, and its vast invested 

But there is another kind of internal improvement — better, indeed, than 
all these, higher and nobler — following which, everything else will come, and 
without which other improvements cannot subsist ; or if it be possible that 
they should, they will be of little value, or even prove to be a curse: I 
mean the culture and improvement of the people themselves. The people 
are more than all their works, and all their possessions. If we look merely 
at production and exchange, there is not a political economist who does not 
make the intelligence of the people a prime element of both. The great 
movement of the present day is for higher institutions, for the application of 
science to the arts of life, as well as for a more complete system of public educa- 
tion. It is science in the various arts of life that has done so much for our 
age, that has wrought these miracles of progress, and advanced our Ameri- 
can civilization itself and carried it over the continent. But we may look for 
yet higher and more splendid achievements. Harvard is worth more to 
Massachusetts than Hoosac ; her University is more to Michigan than her 
Central Railroad. Our schools of engineering, of mining, of agriculture, of 
mechanics, a recent product of our country, we must sustain and build up, 
and enlarge and perfect. This is the true "civil reform" for our industries of 
every kind. And we must also have a school system, that shall reach every 
neighborhood and embrace the whole people, and that shall be free to all, 
free as the air we breathe and as the sunlight of heaven. 

Here in this presence, and with all deference, I wish to say, and I hope it 
will not be regarded out of place, but rather, indeed, as pertinent to the very 
objects of the occasion, that I would devote every acre of our unsold public 
domain (saving the rights of the pre-emptioner and of the homestead) to the 
education of the people, who are to be its future inhabitants. Were my voice 
sufficiently potential, every dollar from the public lands, with the reservations 
above made, should go in the most direct manner to the education of the 
present and future generations of men and women who are to inhabit these 

In my judgment there can be no true statesmanship that ignores the 
education of the people. We must, in our own land, build up those schools, 


which so many American youths go to other lands to find. Two townships 
of land to a State for higher education, and a thirty-sixth part of it for com- 
mon schools, are not up to the standard of the present times. Nothing short 
of the whole of it, to constitute a perpetual trust fund to be held by the 
United States Government and for the benefit of education in the States, will 
meet the expectation of this enlightened day. That form in which a Bill to 
this effect passed in its essential features both Houses of Congress by so large 
a majority, and only failed to become a law by one of those parliamentary 
accidents that sometimes occur, will wisely meet the great educational de- 
mands of our enlightened people. 

I have dwelt so long on this topic, because I regard the people themselves 
as the State, the Nation, and as embracing all other possibilities and develop- 
ments; and because I regard a single scientific man, such as De Lesseps, who 
carried forward to completion the Suez Canal, a man equally skilled both in 
theory and in practice, as worth more to society than any material construc- 
tion whatever. The man [glancing at Captain Eads] who by his genius and 
his energy spans with a splendid bridge this great river, is worth far more to 
the State and to society than his structure, however useful, or elegant, or 
magnificent, or costly it may be. 

In conclusion, after the great war properly come the works of peace — 
not only to repair and reconstruct, but to enlarge and to build up. The very 
same energy and enterprise, courage and daring, that as a people we 
evinced in war — what will they not accomplish when turned to peaceful un- 
dertakings? How nobly does Milton say, " Peace hath her victories no less 
renowned than war." 

This must be our age of peace, and its triumphs must be those of the arts 
of education, of commerce both internal and foreign. We must bring the 
producer and consumer together by the cheapest means possible, and thus 
promote the great interests of all classes, thus benefit the East and the 
West, the North and the South, and make imperishable the Union of all. 

This Congress is commencing in the right spirit. It has its committees 
to collect the facts: to study and designate routes of improvements; to 
collect statistics of present and probable traffic; to make exhibits of ex- 
penses of transportation. Thus it means to act with intelligence in securing 
the largest increase of business and the greatest economy in the expendi- 
tures of means. 

It is, also, an omen of good. It shows a high and patriotic purpose, that 
so many national legislators are here present in their individual capacity to 
gather facts, to consult, to see for themselves. And no man can without 
new inspirations, without higher sentiments of country, without grander 
conceptions, pass through our different States, over our railroads and along 


our water-courses, and behold with his own eyes our immense and unsur- 
passed resources. 

There is every indication that it will be the glory of the Forty-third Con- 
gress to initiate a system for the improvement of our great rivers, that will 
meet that crying want of the country, cheap and safe transportation. And 
considering all the wondrous advantages vouchsafed to us as a people, we 
are, with grateful hearts, ready to exclaim : 

Great God, we thank thee for this home — 

This bounteous birthland of the free ; 
Where wanderers from afar may come, 

And breathe the air of liberty ! 
Still may her flowers untrampled spring, 

Her harvests wave, her cities rise ; 
And yet till Time shall fold his wing 

Remain earth's loveliest Paradise! 

Extract from Speech before Alumni Association, University of Indiana, 
i8yi , on the "Progress of Our Country." 

Nor in the midst of this material development — the rush after wealth by 
our people — have they neglected wholly a taste for the fine arts, which is 
the highest expression of the human mind, as it is filled and moved by the 
love of all that is beautiful in the widest sense of the term, and which inva- 
riably forms the crowning chaplet of the most advanced civilization. We 
have every reason to believe that it will fulfil its proper mission upon our 
continent, in the production of monuments that will rival in excellence all 
that human genius has been able to accomplish elsewhere. Our brief past 
sufficiently indicates this. In historical painting, the works of West, Trum- 
bull, Copley, and Alston rank with the most successful efforts of European 
artists. In portraiture, Stewart, and lately Elliott, and many others have 
left us delineations of the " human face divine " that come up to all that 
can be required in that department. Nor will the productions of our 
modern landscape-painters suffer in comparison with any that the pencil of 
Claude or Turner has left to the world. In our own Church we have one 
of the greatest landscape-painters, whether of the old or the modern 
masters. His " Heart of the Andes " and " Falls of Niagara " seem literal 
translations of nature as she appears in all her transcendent beauty and 
sublimity. They are scarcely pictures, but rather nature herself as seen 
through the eyes of her most devoted worshipers. We have also our 
Hogarths and our Wilkies. The graphic outlines of Darley; the humorous 
and natural productions of Mount, as seen in the " Bargaining for a Horse," 
or those inimitable pictures " The Jolly Flatboatmen," " The Stump 
Speaker," and " The County Election," by our great Missouri artist, Bing- 
ham, assure us that our social and political characteristics, as daily and annu- 
ally exhibited, will not be lost in the lapse of time for want of an art record 
to render them full justice. And in sculpture we can boast such names as 
Crawford, Rogers, Palmer, Powers, Mills, Stone, McDonald, Ream, Hosmer, 
and others, whose wonderful productions equally assure us that, in the progress 
of the age, this branch of the fine arts will neither fail to keep pace with the 
diffusion of knowledge and education amongst the masses of the people, nor 
discredit the high standard of culture, refinement, and civilization towards 
which we are rapidly tending. 

Not only have our people made rapid strides in art and invention, and 
added to the improvement of education and to the volume of literature 


and science, but they have also contributed to the moral worth of mankind, 
and the advancement of a higher civilization. No people in the world 
have ever stood so high in the scale of elevated life as the American people. 
There is no official position that the native-born citizen is not eligible to fill, 
and no opportunity that is not afforded to the adopted citizen. The Gov- 
ernment knows no distinction of ranks or classes. In obedience to the law 
the millionaire stands side by side with the husbandman, the craftsman, and 
the artisan, no distinction being known but that which God has made. Not 
only are the millions of our people sharing blessings and opportunities 
never before afforded to any other people upon earth, but, in the greater 
amplitude of the enlightened and divine sentiment in the race, woman is 
now being lifted higher in the scale of civilization, higher in the intellectual, 
social, moral, and civil walks of life than ever before in all the ages of the 
past. The great statesman and the enlightened reformer have already 
learned that civilization is measured by the position accorded to woman in 
nations and society. And if the state would be elevated, if society would 
advance, then woman must take rank side by side with man — he her 
brother, and she his sister — he the master, she the mistress — the one com- 
plementing the other in personality and in duty throughout all the intricate 
relations of life. The wise father will accord to his daughter all the general 
advantages of education afforded to his son. The true government will 
open to her all the avenues of learning, and labor, and industry that she 
is fitted to fill, and that will promote her respectability and happiness ; and 
will permit her to go forth into the great battle of life, free and untrammeled, 
to do whatever her genius and energy can accomplish, consistently with the 
purity and dignity of her sex. 

Letter to the Mississippi River Improvement Convention, held in St. 
Louis, October 26, 2j, and 28, 1881. 

[From the Columbia (Mo.) Statesman, Nov. 4, 1881.] 

Columbia, Mo., Oct. 24, 1881. 

To the President of the Mississippi River Improvement Conven- 
tion, St. Louis. 

Dear Sir : I have been appointed by Governor Crittenden a delegate-at- 
large to the Convention over which you preside, but I may not be able to 
attend on account of the delicacy of my health, and therefore I beg leave 
to present through you to the Convention this communication. 

Forty-five years ago I was a delegate from Boone County to a conven- 
tion held in the City of St. Louis, on the 20th day of April, 1836, for the 
promotion of internal improvements within the State of Missouri. 

This was the first convention ever held in the State for this object, and, 
so far as I have knowledge, the first convention of the kind ever held west 
of the Mississippi River. 

The following were the delegates from the County of Boone : R. W. 
Morris, William Hunter, John W. Keiser, Dr. James W. Moss, D. M. 
Hickman, John B. Gordon, James S. Rollins, and Granville Branham ; 
and of these I am the only survivor. 

The following gentlemen were the delegates from the County and City 
of St. Louis : Edward Tracy, John O'Fallon, Archibald Gamble, M. Lewis 
Clark, Henry Walton, Henry Von Phul, William Ayres, J. B. Grant, Samuel 
Merry, Joseph C. Laveille, Thornton Grimsley, Lewellyn Brown, George 
K. McGunnegle, and Pierre Chouteau; and of these M. Lewis Clark, now 
of Louisville, Ky., is the only one living. 

Of all the members comprising that body, so far as I can ascertain, there 
are not more than four or five remaining.* At that time the Honorable 
John F. Darby was Mayor of the city, and aided largely in dispensing its 
generous hospitality. He lives to a green old age, an historic wonder, 
abounding with pleasant recollections, observations, and anecdotes of the 
city from the time it was a small French village to the present day. 

* Since this letter was written, the last of the explored the headwaters of the Missouri River, 
living delegates from St. Louis, Merriweather and the Rocky Mountains, and who from 1810 
Lewis Clark, died at Frankfort, Ky., October 28, to 1821 was Governor of the Territory of Mis- 
1881, aged 77 years. He was a son of William souri. — Editor Statesman. 
Clark, who in 1804-5, with Merriweather Lewis, 

2 g 289 


Great changes have occurred since the holding of that convention in the 
City of St. Louis, which contained at that time a population not exceeding 
10,000 souls, the State itself having a population of about 250,000. 

Missouri was at that time a frontier State. 

The country between the western border of the State and the Rocky 
Mountains, and which now comprises the Indian Territory, the great States 
of Kansas, Nebraska, and Colorado, was regarded as a sandy and sterile 
desert. The States of Iowa and Minnesota, and the great section lying west 
.of them, stretching beyond the Rocky Mountains, extending to the mouth 
of the Columbia River, and embracing Oregon and Washington Territories, 
were almost wholly uninhabited save by hostile Indians, vast herds of buf- 
faloes, and other wild game that roamed over the plains and through the 
mountains. It was only now and then that the puff of the steamboat was 
heard upon our rivers, and the shrill whistle of the locomotive had never yet 
startled the denizens of the forest in this almost boundless valley. Since that 
time the empire of Texas has been added as a State of the American Union. 
New Mexico, Arizona, and California with its 700 miles of coast upon the 
Pacific Ocean, not to speak of the still remoter Territory of Alaska, have since 
been added to the domain of the United States. 

In the proceedings of the convention above referred to, I had the honor 
to introduce a resolution asking the appointment of a committee to memo- 
rialize Congress for a donation of public lands to be appropriated, under the 
authority of the Legislature of Missouri, to the objects of internal improve- 
ment contemplated by the convention. This resolution was unanimously 
adopted. The Honorable Hamilton R. Gamble, Edward Bates, and myself 
were appointed on this committee ; and so far as I know, or now remember, 
this was the first memorial ever presented to Congress asking a grant of land 
to aid in promoting objects of internal improvement in the Mississippi Valley; 
and allow me to say, with becoming modesty, that I have stuck to this text 
with unflinching fidelity from that day to this ! 

It would be an interesting and illimitable theme to point out what has been 
accomplished in this direction in the way of population, development, and 
progress in the western half of our country during these forty-five years. To 
do so would far exceed the appropriate limits of a letter like this. Let the 
imagination of intelligent minds fill in the gap, and be amazed at the wonder- 
ful growth and grandeur of our country. So much for reminiscences. 

Allow me to say, according to my poor view and judging of the future by 
the past, with the increased intelligence and enterprise of the people, the im- 
pulse to public improvements which science has given by the application 
of steam and electricity in every department of human labor and industry : 
in the art of navigation, in the building of railroads and telegraph lines, in 
leveling and tunneling the mountains, in improving and utilizing every species 


of machinery, and removing obstacles seemingly insurmountable, opening up 
the way for the effective and rapid development of all 


that the American people are just entering upon another stage of change, 
improvement, amelioration, and expansion, which in the closing years of the 
nineteenth century will insure for them a transcendent power that will eclipse 
all their achievements hitherto in advancing civilization, intellectual and moral 
growth, material wealth, and political power. So much for prophecy. 

The intelligent Convention over which you preside, composed of a repre- 
sentation from eighteen States and Territories, bordering upon, and directly 
interested in the improvement of, the navigable waters of the Mississippi 
Valley, has a great work before it in devising a scheme that will be accep- 
table to the people of every part of our country, and in inducing the national 
Congress to make such appropriations from the national Treasury under a 
systematized plan of improvement of the great rivers as in the end may afford 
to all the people who inhabit that section 


through these natural channels of commerce, for the products of their toil 
and labor to the markets of our own country and of all other countries 
where there are such exchanges of production necessary to meet the wants 
and add to the comforts of peoples living in distant parts of the habitable 
globe. Your enlightened body will not be without guidance upon this im- 
portant subject. Super-added to the great intelligence of its large represen- 
tation, you will have the experience, the wisdom, and the recommendations 
of other similar bodies that have gone before you. The reports of learned 
scientific men show the necessity and the feasibility of these improvements, 
with statistics of the population, the present wealth, and the productions of 
that vast and fertile area of our country, showing the interests to be sub- 
served and benefited by these appropriations and improvements, as well as 
the still greater wealth to be added to the aggregate riches of the nation. It 
is not necessary for me, in this short communication, to present these statis- 
tics here. You will have before you the able and admirable address of the 
commission appointed by Governors of States upon the commerce and im- 
provement of the rivers of this valley, including also the address of the 
Honorable Eugene Underwood, President of the Commission, presenting in 
a very able manner the considerations and arguments in favor of the national 
Government taking hold of and devising a plan whereby the improvement 
of the navigation of these great rivers may be accomplished and perfected. 


The arguments presented in the able papers to which I have referred 
have not been, nor can they be, answered. 

To accomplish this great work the aid of the general Government is an 
absolute essential, without which it cannot be done. 

For the attainment of this great object we cannot rely upon the separate 
and sometimes conflicting actions of independent States. To achieve so 
great a work we need the united efforts of the 


There are two great and vital schemes, which must in the future com- 
mand the attention and unite the energies and careful consideration of the 
national Legislature. One of these is to have the general Government 
make the necessary appropriations to improve and make safe and easy the 
commerce of those rivers that are national in character, and in which a 
large majority of the people are interested. The other is, to make similar 
and needed appropriations from the national Treasury and other resources 
of the country in aid of the varied systems of free public education existing 
under the laws of the different States, and established for the enlightenment 
of the entire youth of the country without regard to sex, color, or condition. 

Without intelligence and that enterprise which intelligence brings, neither 
the commerce nor the physical condition of the country can ever be prop- 
erly improved ; and without the maintenance of a free system of public 
schools established in all the States, with the aid of the national Govern- 
ment, we cannot have that general intelligence so essential to the enjoy- 
ment of rational freedom and to the upholding of the free Government 
under which we live. By the omnipotent aid of this system of free public 
schools, we must wipe from our escutcheon the dark stigma of having, ac- 
cording to our last census, 1,500,000 free men entitled to the ballot — the 
sacred right of suffrage — who can neither read nor write. 

This is the great peril by which our institutions are constantly threatened. 
It must be removed, and if in no other way, then by compulsory education 
and the limitation of the right of suffrage to those only who can read and 
write. Every thoughtful and intelligent citizen must feel and admit the 
necessity of this. 

We are always to remember that our possibilities and capabilities as a peo- 
ple do not lie merely in our rivers, though they afford more miles of naviga- 
tion than those of any other nation, nor in our independent and magnificent 
central position, nor in our soil, though richer than that washed by the Nile 
itself; nor in our mountains of iron, or our fields of coal, or mines of lead 
and the precious metals, or quarries of marble, or in any other natural ad- 
vantages however great and wonderful ; but that they do consist far more 


in our children and youth; in those who are soon to makeup and constitute 
the nation itself — for let it be forever remembered that the people are the 
State, and nothing else is ; in those who are to possess and use all its vast and 
untold resources, and means of enjoyment ; who are to develop its civilization 
and create for it the name and glory which it is to have among the nations 
of the earth. 

But we must not lose sight of our theme — the improvement of the navi- 
gation of the Mississippi River and its tributaries. It is a vast enterprise. 
The danger is that we may ask too much by attempting too much at the same 
time. It occurs to me that if the Convention would recommend to the Con- 
gress of the United States the improvement of the navigation of 


with appropriations sufficient to enter vigorously upon the work, as an enter- 
ing wedge for the improvement of its larger tributaries in the future, it would 
be far better than to attempt any log-rolling scheme, by which bills are often 
loaded down and defeated. The strength of the friends of the measure would 
not then be frittered away, for there is no man who will ever in the future 
wend his way into the halls of either House of Congress from this valley who 
will deny that the Mississippi River is a national stream and entitled to this 
recognition by making necessary appropriations for its improvement. Any 
one who would vote against a proposition like that may at pnce be set down 
as incorrigible and opposed to all schemes and appropriations by the general 
Government for the improvement of the navigation of any river, whether it 
be local or national in its character. With the main river properly improved 
under the direction of able and enlightened engineers, with its banks made 
secure from the jetties to St. Paul, and its navigation made easy, safe, and 
economical, the commerce of this great valley would seek an outlet mainly 
through this channel, and this would force at once the improvement of 


worthy to receive such aid, which would be promptly afforded either by the 
governments of the States through which these rivers flow, or by both the 
governments of those States and the general Government. In other words, 
the improvement of the Mississippi River proper would lead quickly to the 
improvement of all its tributaries, while the people living along its line would 
seek a passage for the products of their labor and the supply of their wants 
through the common channel. My suggestion, therefore, would be that you 


concentrate all your forces "to obtain a sufficient appropriation for the im- 
provement of 


as far as the main stream may be made navigable. It can hardly be out of 
place to quote, however frequently, the description given of this river by our 
former great Senator, Mr. Benton, many years ago, in which he says : 

Wonderful river ! Connected with seas by the head and the mouth; stretching 
its arms toward the Atlantic and the Pacific ; lying in a valley which is a valley 
from the Gulf of Mexico to Hudson's Bay ; drawing its first waters not from the 
rugged mountains but from the plateau of lakes in the centre of the continent, and 
in communication with the sources of the St. Lawrence and the streams which take 
their course north to Hudson's Bay ; draining the largest extent of the richest land ; 
collecting the products of every clime, even the frigid, to bear the whole to market 
in the South, and there to meet the products of the entire world. Such is the 
Mississippi, and who can calculate the aggregate of its advantages and the mag- 
nitude of its future results ? 

But I need not go further. The time is at hand when the claims of the 
Mississippi Valley can no longer be ignored. The sceptre has already de- 
parted from Judah, never to return ! The potent voice of the Senators and 
Representatives from eighteen States lying within and bordering upon this 
great valley can no longer be stifled or silenced. Whatever may be the re- 
sult of the action of this Convention, it is a mere question of time as to when 
the voice of the people of this valley will be heard and obeyed. Every 
intelligent mind must see and feel that the political power of the Govern- 
ment is rapidly concentrating here; that here is to be the seat of empire, 
whence will emanate your laws, your great national policies, and whence the 
destiny of the continent will be directed and controlled. A lack of concert 
of action, the diversion of trade and commerce by artificial means, or other 
temporary causes, may hinder and prevent for the time being the ultimate 
control as I have predicted it, but 


unsurpassed in the extent of its resources and undeveloped wealth, capable 
within itself of sustaining a population ten times greater than the present en- 
tire population of the United States ; this great Valley of the Mississippi, a 
river that drains a thirty-sixth part of the land surface of the globe itself, and 
which, rising near the lakes of the North, so near as to make their shores 
tributary to its valley, and flowing through more than twenty degrees of lat- 
itude, affords a variety of productions for commercial interchange compared 


with which the productions of the Amazon, the shores of the Mediterranean, 
or the valley of the Danube, or the Black and Baltic Seas, must, under the 
highest development, remain utterly insignificant — this valley is appointed 
of God and Nature as the seat of greater than Oriental empire. The Medi- 
terranean system, and the valley of the Amazon, of the Baltic and Black Seas, 
are limited in their products by the climatic uniformity of a single zone. But 
here is a valley developing north and southward almost from the frigid to the 
torrid zone, in extent of area 2,231,000 square miles, all of it a part of our 
great country, and under the jurisdiction of the Congress of the United States 
— a land upon whose distant mountain-tops the snows never melt, and in 
whose green vales beautiful flowers never cease to bloom. This vast valley 
with its inconceivable riches springing from the soil or slumbering beneath it; 
with its cereals, its cotton, tobacco, hemp, fruits ; with its ores, timber, its 
water power, its game, its populous towns and cities, its growing manufactories, 
with everything in fact needed for human sustenance, comfort, happiness, and 
civilization; with 


lying too in the centre of the continent with no Alpine barriers to hem it in 
— what to-day is its chief want, its commanding necessity ? It is the better 
education of the masses of the people, to the end that the channels which 
the Almighty himself has furnished shall be improved and made available 
by man's skill and labor. Why, it would seem to lie in the very order of 
Providence that the national Government should do its part — and it must 
be done — in order to enable the people to enjoy the beneficence of our 
Creator. That sooner or later the nation will perceive this there cannot 
be a rational doubt. 

Gentlemen, the people of this great valley, nay, I may say of the entire 
country, and of all who are well-wishers of the success of free government 
on the American Continent, look with hope, with anxiety, but with confi- 
dence to the deliberations of your body, praying that you may so direct 
legislation as to insure the success of your great enterprises at the earliest 
practicable moment. 

I am, with very high regard, your obedient servant, 

James S. Rollins. 



Columbia, Missouri, June 24, 1873. 

The Hon. Elijah Perry, Vice-President Board of Curators, State University 
of Missouri : 

Dear Sir : We have been appointed a committee by a number of the personal 
friends of the Hon. James S. Rollins, who desire, through us, to present to the 
Board of Curators a life-size portrait of him, to be permanently placed in the 
University edifice, along with those of other gentlemen who have manifested a 
commendable zeal in the cause of education. 

This portrait was executed recently by George C. Bingham, Esq., Missouri's 
gifted artist, and is pronounced by competent judges a faithful likeness of the 
original, and a most excellent work of art. 

We may properly add that this compliment is justly due Mr. Rollins on 
account of his lifelong labors in building up and promoting the best interests of 
the institution, now taking rank with the first literary and scientific institutions 
of our country. 

More than thirty years ago Mr. Rollins was the author and principal advocate 
of the Bill in the General Assembly, providing for its establishment, and was 
amongst the largest contributors to secure its location in the County of Boone. 

Whilst a member of Congress from this district, he was the earnest friend and 
advocate of the Bill approved July 2, 1862, providing for the endowment of 
agricultural and mechanical colleges by the general Government in the different 

Subsequently as a member of the General Assembly of the State, from the 
County of Boone, he was the author of the Bill which provided for the location 
of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Missouri as a department of the 
State University, and which, after a prolonged struggle, running through a 
number of years, became a law, and was approved February 24, 1870. 

He was the author and the earnest advocate of the Bill approved March 11, 
1867, establishing a normal department in connection with the University, and 
securing, according to the ninth article of the Constitution of the State, a portion 
of the State revenue for the permanent maintenance and support of the insti- 

He was the author of the Bill subsequently amended by an amendment offered 
by Senator Morse, of Jefferson County, adjusting a complicated account between 
the University and the State, approved March 29, 1872, whereby one hundred 


thousand dollars was added to the permanent endowment of the University. 
Thirty-five thousand dollars was appropriated for the benefit of the Mining School 
department of the University, located at Rolla, in the County of Phelps, and the 
scientific building was completed. 

He was the author and eloquent advocate of the Bill approved April 1, 1872, 
throwing open the doors of the institution and making it substantially free to all 
the youth of the State, male and female, between the ages of sixteen and twenty- 
five years, which has been the means, among other agencies, of bringing within 
its walls nearly five hundred students during the collegiate year just about closing, 
representing upwards of seventy counties of the State. 

We feel that these long-continued and faithful labors of Mr. Rollins deserve 
honorable recognition, not only at our hands, but by every friend of education ; 
and that this painting, so handsomely executed and so true to nature, should 
have a place in the halls of the University, so that his form and features, along 
with the fruits of his labors, may thus properly descend to the future youth of 

In referring specially to a few of the principal measures of which Mr. Rollins 
was the author and chief advocate, adding to the strength, permanence, respect- 
ability, and usefulness of the University, we do not in any way underrate, but 
commend alike the efforts and actions of all friends of education in and out of 
the General Assembly, at home and abroad, in their zeal and energy to build up 
and sustain a first-class literary and scientific institution in our great State. 
We have the honor to remain, with high regard, your obedient servants, 

J. T. McBaine, J. W. Harris, 

James L. Stephens, John Machir, 
James Harris, David Guitar, 

J. K. Rogers, Th. Fyfer, 

William F. Switzler, R. B. Price, 
Joel H. Haden, Committee. 


Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen : It was the understanding and 
agreement of a portion of the members of the committee, if not of all, who 
subscribed the letter just read by the honorable secretary of the Board, that 
it should speak for the committee and the citizens they represent ; that no 
address formally presenting this portrait should be superadded on this 

Certainly this was my understanding ; and it was not till the moment of 
my rising I was informed of a desire or expectation on the part of any one 


that the letter of the committee, so full and accurate in its historical 
citations, and, I may add, so pertinent to the occasion, should be supple- 
mented by remarks from me. 

Mr. President, my long residence in Columbia as a journalist, a residence 
and professional life which antedate the completion of the building in which 
we are assembled, and the deep interest I have always felt, personally and 
professionally, in the prosperity of the University of Missouri, have made 
me familiar with its history, and with the self-sacrificing efforts of James S. 
Rollins in public and private life, and for a period of years embracing more 
than a generation, to enlarge its means, quicken its efficiency, and add to 
the number and glory of its achievements. 

We behold to-day in the breadth and solidity of this foundation the grand 
results of his efforts, seconded and supported by the efforts and sacrifices of 
other friends of the University, among the great living and the illustrious 

Let these efforts and sacrifices be remembered and reported. His and 
theirs are the common heritage of the country, the aggregate achievements 
of more than a quarter of a century. While we to-day conspicuously honor 
him, and in presenting to the Board of Curators this life-size portrait, the 
masterpiece of Missouri's most gifted artist, George C. Bingham, we also 
honor ourselves, let us not forget the noble men who by unexampled 
liberality in 1839 secured the location of the University at Columbia. Let 
us not forget those who in subsequent years, as members of the faculty of 
instruction, contributed almost unrequited labor and great learning to the 
maintenance of this institution. 

Mr. President, noble deeds will be reported. Distinguished services will 
be remembered. The works of good men follow them. Some one has uttered 
the golden thought that "the planet, the pebble, goes attended by its shadow. 
The rolling rock leaves its track upon the mountain, the river its channel in 
the soil, the animal its bones in the stratum, the fern or the leaf its modest 
epitaph in the coal. The falling drop makes its sepulchre in the sand or 
stone ; not a foot steps in the snow or along the ground, but prints in charac- 
ters more or less lasting a map of its march, and every act of the man in- 
scribes itself in the memories of his fellows. The air is full of sounds — the 
sky of tokens; the ground is all memoranda and signatures, and every object 
is covered over with hints, which speak to the intelligent." 

How grandly, how eloquently to-day speak the growing reputation and 
achievements of this University, of the unflagging zeal and personal sacrifices 
of time and money of the early friends of the University of Missouri ! In its 
unexampled prosperity we trace in characters more or less lasting a map of 
their march. In its achievements we read their modest epitaph. 

Among these early friends stands conspicuously James S. Rollins : and by 


his side a long and honored line of noble men, most of whom have gone to 
their reward, men but for whose active cooperation and great sacrifices the 
University of Missouri would not occupy this spot to-day. 

I have here a paper, Mr. President, which is eloquent of early and remark- 
able sacrifices for this institution, and one which was never before exhibited 
to this Board. It is a copy of the original subscription made by the people 
of Boone County in 1839 to secure the location of the University at Colum- 
bia — a paper which may quite appropriately be called a Roll of Honor. 
Although made nearly a third of a century ago and at a period immediately 
succeeding the great financial revulsion of 1837, it guaranteed to the State 
of Missouri a bonus of one hundred and seventeen thousand dollars, on con- 
dition of the permanent location at this place of the University of the 

This Roll of Honor in some enduring form ought to be spread on the 
records of the Board; and with this view, Mr. President, during our present 
session, I intend offering a resolution making it the duty of the Secretary, in 
an appendix to the journal, alphabetically to record their names, together 
with the amount subscribed by each. 

Look at that Roll ! There stands the name of the eminent citizen and life- 
long friend of the University whose portrait we present to the Board. On 
the same line with his name is his subscription of two thousand dollars. 

But he is not alone. See there also the name of Edward Camplin, a citizen 
who although unable to read or write made his mark and subscribed (and 
paid) three thousand dollars. See there also the names of Eli E. Bass, David 
S. Lamme, and Jefferson Garth, each for the same large sum ; and after these 
for large amounts the names of William Jewell, Anthony W. Rollins, Warren 
Woodson, William Cornelius, David and Roger N. Todd, John Guitar, Sin- 
clair Kirtley, John B. Gordon, Moss Prewitt, Robert S. Barr, Oliver Parker, 
James H. Bennett, Moses U. Payne, A. W. Turner, William H. Duncan, 
Robert S. Thomas, William Provines, Joseph B. Howard, Hannah Hardin, 
N. W. Wilson, R. C. Branham, Jonathan Kirkbride, Stephen Bedford, David 
M. Hickman, Thomas M. Allen, and hundreds of others for similar or smaller 
amounts, alike liberal and public-spirited. 

Sir, the history of the people of no county of a western State affords evi- 
dence of such sacrifices for the cause of education, or presents a more 
brilliant page or a roll of honor more worthy of the lasting gratitude of 

Mr. President, nearly twenty years elapsed after the admission of Mis- 
souri into the sisterhood of States before any legislation was had looking to 
the location of a " Seminary of Learning " or State University provided for 
in the Act of Congress authorizing the people of the Missouri Territory to 
form a constitution and state government. 


The first act having in view the location of the institution was introduced 
by Mr. Rollins, then a member from the County of Boone, during the ses- 
sion of 1838-9 — an act which was approved February 8, 1839. [See Ses- 
sion Acts 1838, p. 185.] By this act five commissioners were appointed to 
select a site for the State University, namely, Peter H. Burnett of Clay, Ch. 
Durkee of Lewis, Archibald Gamble of St. Louis, John G. Bryan of Wash- 
ington, and John S. Phelps of Greene. The act provided the site should 
contain at least fifty acres of land in a compact form within two miles of the 
county seat of the County of Cole, Cooper, Howard, Boone, Callaway, or 

It was made the duty of the commissioners to meet in the city of Jeffer- 
son on the first Monday of June, 1839, and thereafter at such times as they 
might appoint at the county seat of each county mentioned, to receive con- 
veyances of land and subscriptions of money, to be void if the University 
was not located at the county seat of the county in which they were 

After visiting all the county seats and receiving bids as aforesaid the com- 
missioners were to return to the seat of government and open the bids ; 
" and the place presenting most advantages to be derived to said Univer- 
sity, keeping in view the amount subscribed, and locality and general advan- 
tages, shall be entitled to its location." 

The passage of this act was followed, in five of the six counties to which 
the location was limited, Boone, Callaway, Cole, Cooper, and Howard, by 
the most extraordinary contest, in the popular excitement and unexampled 
liberality it disclosed, ever witnessed in any State at any period of our 
country's history. In each of these counties little else was done for 
several months than to attend public or private meetings, make and hear 
addresses, and circulate subscription papers with the view of excelling 
rival contestants in the amount of the bonus offered for the location of the 

During the pendency of the contest in the County of Boone, which was 
indeed signalized by a great upheaval of the popular heart, James S. Rollins, 
the author of the Act of the Legislature, was a tower of strength. Although 
younger in years than many of the noble spirits who contributed their 
acknowledged wisdom, great influence, and larger means to the magnificent 
enterprise, Mr. Rollins, unexcelled in zeal, ceaseless in effort, and eloquent 
in speech, led the friends of education in Boone County to battle and to 

Under the law each county was privileged to appoint an agent or com 
missioner to represent it at the seat of government at the final meeting of 
the commissioners whose duty it was to open the bids and make the 
location. The Boone County Court honored James S. Rollins with the 



appointment, and most faithfully, most successfully, did he discharge its 
high responsibilities.* 

On the 24th of June, 1839, thirty-four years to a day previous to the 
presentation of this portrait by the committee of citizens, the commissioners 
met in Jefferson City, opened the bids, and awarded the great prize of the 
location to Columbia in the County of Boone. t 

From that period to this, sir, — in private life and official station, in the 
Legislature and in Congress, in the Board of Curators and elsewhere, — 
James S. Rollins 1ms distinguished himself by self-sacrificing efforts, often 
chastened and made illustrious by rare statesmanship and eloquence, to lay 
broadly, deeply, and enduringly the foundations of a great University. 

Services so faithful and long-continued, to promote the priceless interests 
of education, deserve honorable recognition at the hands of the people 
and of this Board. In testimony of our appreciation of these services we 
tender the Board this life-size portrait, an exquisite work of art and true 
to nature, expressing the hope, in the language of the committee, that it 
will have a place in the halls of the University, that his form and features, 
along with the fruits of his labors, may thus properly descend to the future 
youth of Missouri. 


On motion of Mr. Conant of St. Louis, the communication was referred 
to a special committee, which was charged with the duty of preparing reso- 
lutions of acceptance. The following committee was appointed: A. J. 
Conant of St. Louis, J. F. Weilandy of Jefferson City, and J. W. Barrett of 

* Extract from the journal of the County- 
Court, p. 501: "Tuesday, May 28, 1839. 
Present : Overton Harris, Hiram Phillips, 
Matthew R. Arnold, Judges ; Warren Wood- 
son, clerk ; John M. Kelly, deputy sheriff. 
Ordered by the court that James S. Rollins be 
and is hereby appointed a commissioner on 
the part of this county to meet with the com- 
missioners appointed to locate the State Uni- 
versity, at the seat of government, at such 
time as said commissioners shall appoint, for 
the purpose of being present at the opening 
and comparing of the bids made by the differ- 
ent counties, authorized to bid for said Uni- 
versity ; and in the event of said Rollins be- 
ing prevented from attending and acting as 

said commissioner that Sinclair Kirtley be ap- 
pointed to act in his stead, and that a certificate 
of such appointment be presented. 

t The following is a copy of the award: 
"The Commissioners appointed by law to 
select a site for the State University have 
agreed unanimously in the choice of Boone 
County for its location. Given under our 
hands at the City of Jefferson this 24th day of 
June in the year 1839. 

John Gano Bryan, 

Ch. Durkee, 
(Signed) Archibald Gamble, 

John S. Phelps, 

Peter H. Burnett." 


During the forenoon session of Thursday, June 26, 1873, Mr. Conant 
reported from this committee the following 


Resolved, That we accept with gratitude the proposed donation, as one emi- 
nently fitting and appropriate, and as commemorative of the life and labors of a 
distinguished citizen, who by his eminent public services, and especially by his 
earnest and untiring efforts in the cause of education, has endeared himself to 
the masses of the people, and has deservedly commanded the highest considera- 
tion of the members of this Board. 

Resolved, That the formal presentation of the portrait be made at two o'clock, 
p. m. (this day), and that the Vice-President designate some suitable person to 
make a proper response on behalf of the Board of Curators. 

The report was unanimously adopted, and it was ordered that with the 
communication it be spread on the records of the Board. The Vice-Presi- 
dent (Hon. Elijah Perry) appointed Mr. A. J. Conant to respond on behalf 
of the Board. 


Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen : It becomes my pleasing duty on 
behalf of the Board of Curators of the State University of Missouri to re- 
ceive from the hands of the committee of the citizens of Columbia this most 
excellent portrait of the President of our Board and the founder of this 
institution of learning. 

In thus representing this intelligent body, permit me to say to you, gentle- 
men of the committee, that I speak the unanimous sentiments of its members, 
when I say that it gives us pleasure unfeigned to join with you in doing 
honor to one who, though dwelling among you, belongs not to Columbia 
alone, where his eminent social qualities have been so long enjoyed and 
appreciated, and the results of whose labors in the cause of learning are the 
rich heritage of the sons and daughters of the great State of Missouri. 

I will not now detain you by dwelling at length upon the particulars of 
the great work which has occupied to a good degree the last thirty years of 
his active life : his long continued and successful efforts to establish this 
University upon a solid foundation, and for its subsequent support ; his 
labors to promote the cause of popular education — exerting all his influence 
to secure liberal Congressional and State legislation, whereby millions of 
acres of our public lands have been forever devoted to educational purposes, 
and the endowment of institutions of learning in every State of the Union ; 
nor of his ceaseless exertions, whenever and wherever his influence could be 


brought to bear in creating a proper public sentiment in favor of a higher 
education among the masses of the people. The consideration of the par- 
ticulars of these thirty years of successful work, which have been already so 
appropriately alluded to by my distinguished friend, Colonel Switzler, we 
will leave to that time and occasion when a fuller appreciation of their value 
may be expressed, and a more fitting tribute be paid to their author. 

I surrender myself, therefore, the rather to those reflections which the 
peculiar circumstances of this occasion so forcibly suggest. 

As I look at that full-length portrait of the esteemed President of this 
Board, painted by one whom I am proud to call my personal friend and pro- 
fessional brother, George C. Bingham, I am reminded of a fact that may 
not be generally known outside of a limited circle ; the fact that both the 
subject of this picture and the artist have been, from early youth to man- 
hood's ripened years, the warmest personal friends, and, next to his own kith 
and kin, each by the other has been the best beloved. 

Together have they traveled life's pathway ; side by side have they labored; 
contributing in the Legislature and out of it, as best they might, all the power 
of their united personal influence to promote the best interests of this great 

In political life, in patriotic action, they have been one; and in sentiment 
and affection, like David and Jonathan, they have been united by ties most 
intimate and tender. 

This portrait of the founder of this University, painted by the father of 
Missouri art, and the crowning work of his life in the line of portraiture — 
whose fame rests not alone upon this branch, for he has given to posterity 
those inimitable delineations of human character as presented in the history 
of the early political life of Missouri in those well-known election scenes — 
this portrait, I say, to us who are gathered here to-day, has not alone the in- 
terest of being a worthy tribute to a worthy man, but around it cluster the 
memories of the hard-fought battles of civil and political conflict, and the 
tender associations of undying friendship. 

There are times, ladies and gentlemen, in the history of communities and 
nations when the materials for some great enterprise or conquest lie all around 
ready to hand but unorganized; some comprehending and controlling 
spirit enters on the scene, brings all into systematic and harmonious action, 
and achieves success or leads to victory. Forces which when isolated are 
inoperative, when arranged and concentrated exert a tremendous power. 

Such in a good degree has been the work of him whose portrait we place 
upon these walls to-day. Without an appropriate field and efficient co- 
laborers little of course could have been accomplished ; but the wise fore- 
sight which could comprehend the necessity and the possibilities of the 
enterprise, the faith and power to work were needed as well. 


In the history of this University, two distinct periods are well defined: 
The first may be termed its infantile period, during which it struggled along 
under adverse circumstances, with little or no assistance from the State or 
any other outside source. The second period may be dated from the time 
when its administration was confided to the hands of its present efficient 
head, Dr. Daniel Read. Let no one understand me to utter one word of 
disparagement of the faithful services and eminent abilities of those noble 
men who gave their best years and best thoughts to the interests of this 
University ; some of whom sealed their service with their lives and fell noble 
martyrs to the cause. They accomplished but little — how could they when 
the great State of Missouri looked coldly on as they wore themselves out in 
her service, and gave them not one dollar during the long weary years to aid 
them in building up an institution she herself had created, and was bound by 
honor and interest, and public policy and every consideration, to foster and 
sustain ? 

At this time, then, when the period of its manhood began, under the lead- 
ership of Dr. Read, with increased resources and the hearty cooperation of 
an intelligent and liberal-minded board of curators, this University entered 
upon a sphere of usefulness the grandeur of which I venture to say none of us 
can begin now to comprehend ; and unless it shall be so unfortunate — which 
Heaven forbid — as to be hampered and circumscribed by partizan or sec- 
tarian influences and complications, it will soon become the pride and crown- 
ing glory of our educational system, and a potent element for good, not only 
in the civilization of the State of Missouri, but through the length and 
breadth of the valley of the Mississippi. 

It is permitted to some men in our days to reap the fields which they them- 
selves have sown. 

We are living, we are dwelling, in a grand and awful time. 

The founder of this institution beholds to-day the rich fruitage of the vine- 
yard he has planted. These, however, are but the first fruits that it has 
just begun to yield. Its measureless glory lies all before us, and its priceless 
blessings are for future generations. 

While the foundations of this University were being laid and the super- 
structure slowly rising, what mighty events have taken place — what histories 
made, of nations convulsed or destroyed. 

During these long years how many mighty and noble men have appeared 
upon the scene of action — men of splendid intellect and brilliant accomplish- 
ments. For a time they absorb the bewildered astonishment of mankind ; 
where are they now ? The names of many are scarcely remembered among 
men. Like a meteor flash they shone and disappeared ; or like a richly laden 


caravan with flying banners they moved across the sandy plain and were lost 
to view, leaving no sign but bleaching skeletons to mark their track. 

How different with him who contributes one new idea to the sum of human 
knowledge, or starts into activity otherwise dormant intellects; he rears for 
himself a living monument, and sets in motion currents of influence which 
cannot die with him, but must forever increase in their perennial power. 

Our echoes roll from soul to soul, 
And grow forever and forever. 

In view of the well-directed efforts of the past, the glorious realizations of 
the present, the magnificent possibilities of the future, the founder and father 
of the State University of Missouri may well indulge in manly pride and 
thankfulness that he has been permitted to contribute so much to the well- 
being of his own and the sister States of this great valley, and with laudable 
satisfaction thank God that to him has been granted the honor to labor so 
successfully in a field so vast and promising. 

Thousands have already gone out from this, their Alma Mater, who have 
here received those elements of education and those nobler impulses which 
have made them a power and a blessing in the widely scattered communities 
where they dwell. These are but the earnests of what is yet to be — the few 
drops before the copious rain. The old prophet, in ecstatic exultation, cried 
out as he beheld the vision of the coming glory : 

There is a river the streams whereof make glad the city of our God. 

In this figure he seems to reverse the order of nature. The picture is of 
a mighty river sweeping along in its majestic flow, and sending out continu- 
ally smaller streams and rivulets, which water and bless the land and make 
glad its inhabitants. 

This shall illustrate what I conceive to be the character of the work and 
influence of this University. Year after year young men and maidens come 
here to be disciplined and educated ; year after year they return to their 
homes, educated and fitted not only the better to discharge the duties of the 
special path they have chosen in life, but also to become centers of benefi- 
cent power and influence in those communities where they may find their 
home; fitted not alone by the acquirement of scientific knowledge, but also 
by that broad development of the whole individuality which a generous cul- 
ture alone can give, to take a higher place in the realm of thought and in 
the sphere of personal influence, thereby refining and elevating all with 
whom they come in contact. 

In conclusion, permit me in behalf of the Board to thank you, gentlemen 
of the committee, and those you represent, for this most acceptable present, 


the portrait of the esteemed and worthy President of the Board of Curators, 
and also to assure you that it shall have an appropriate place within these 
walls. And when from time to time the students shall gaze upon the living 
and characteristic expression of that glowing canvas, they shall be told that 
it is the representation of the man of noble heart to whom they are chiefly 
indebted for the exalted privilege they now enjoy of securing here a liberal 
education ; and from his history they shall learn that the esteem of our fel- 
low-men, the approval of our own consciences, and the noblest and most 
enduring fame are found in the path of self-sacrifice for the good of others. 
Thus shall the name of James S. Rollins be inscribed, not upon one 
marble monument which time shall destroy, but upon the more enduring, 
yea, eternal, monuments of countless living souls. 



102 Broadway, New York, May 28, 1885. 

General Odon Guitar, President, and Gentlemen of the Alumni 
Association of the University of Missouri. 

Dear Sirs : It is impossible to express my regret in declining the 
invitation to present for you to the Board of Curators of the University 
of Missouri a bust of the Honorable James S. Rollins. The regret is the 
greater because I feel so sensibly the fitness of the gift you intend to make. 

All peoples of high civilization have delighted to preserve in inspired 
marble or enduring bronze, the " unmatched form and feature " of their 
eminent men, their soldiers and statesmen, their poets and orators, their 
sages and philanthropists. It is a graceful tribute. It responds to the best 
and purest feelings of our nature. It awakens our admiration of what is 
great, our love for that which is good, and our gratitude to those who have 
benefited us and our fellows. It revives the solicitude for posterity and 
the desire to erect beacons upon the heights of excellence whither we are 

In obedience to these sentiments it is your proud privilege to present to 
the Curators of the University a portrait in bronze of one whom we love 
and venerate. While his affections embrace the whole country, his peculiar 
devotion has given fifty years of his illustrious life to the service of Missouri, 
to the development of her industries, the enlightenment of her sons and 
daughters, and the building up of the great Commonwealth. To his wise 
forethought Missouri chiefly owes the iron courses whose ceaseless traffic 
fructifies her fields and enriches her people. To his love for his fellow-men 
she mainly owes the schools, academies, and colleges which illumine her 
prairies and her woodlands, her villages and her cities. To his wisdom and 
his fascinating eloquence more than all else she owes the prosperity of the 
great University which shines in the center of her educational system like 

the Julian star. 

Micat inter omnes 
Julium sidus, velut inter ignes 
Luna minores. 

It was the pride of the matchless sage and philanthropist to whom, next 
to Washington, America is indebted for her greatness and her happiness, that 


he was the founder of a great University. The distant prospect, from his 
mountain home, of its white colonnades and lofty cupola informed his heart 
and brought solace and sympathy, satisfaction and recompense, to the soli- 
tudes of his later life. How truly did he comprehend the comparative value 
of his labors, and how clearly did he penetrate the future when he penned the 
crowning and closing words of his epitaph ! He discerned the increasing and 
endless beneficence of the work when he united his name forever with the 
institution which has given him a distinctive title to the esteem and gratitude 
of the Republic of Letters. 

The last words upon the memorial of Jefferson suggest the honor and praise 
that are due to the association of Rollins with the University of Missouri. 
The gratification must be supreme that his fostering care has survived until 
the institution has assumed a foremost place among the universities of the 

I reiterate my regret that I cannot be personally present to assist in the 
memorable ceremony. While the genius of the artist has molded the noble 
effigy for temporal vision, Rollins himself has erected the monumentum cere 
perennius in the grateful hearts of Missourian youth which shall tell to com- 
ing time the fame of the Father of the University of Missouri. 

With cordial fellowship for you, and with filial devotion to our Alma 

Mater, I am Yours sincerely, 

L. M. Lawson. 


Mr. President : I wish to make a motion, but before doing so permit me to 
state to the audience that the Alumni of the University of the State of 
Missouri and other friends have caused to be cast in bronze a bust of the 
distinguished President of the Board of Curators of this institution, the Hon. 
James S. Rollins of Boone, which they propose on this occasion to present 
to the University as a token of the high regard entertained for him whose 
memory it will commemorate. 

" Peace hath her victories no less renowned than war," and often the 
statesman is the real hero who wins the victory and conquers peace. The 
statesman, the philosopher, the philanthropist are the real architects and 
builders of the Nation's glory. They are the heroes who fight its battles 
and fix its destiny; and they either lift the standard of national life higher 
and higher, or sink it lower and lower, as the years go by. 

We fully realize this fundamental truth. History is rich with illustration 
and example, and we know that learning and culture are the cause and not 
the effect of high civilization, and that the university and the college are the 


corner-stones in the arch of refinement and progress. Fully recognizing this 
truth, we have watched with miser's care the infancy, youth, and early man- 
hood of this institution, and while it is true that it has always had warm and 
devoted friends to stand by and aid and assist it in its hours of trouble and 
gloom, yet preeminent amongst them all, whether in sunshine or storm, 
Rollins has been the Leonidas of the Spartan band. 

The leader of the great movement that gave it birth, he has ever watched 
over it with parental care, and never despaired of its success. He saw the 
silver lining on every cloud. His energy never faltered, his courage never 
wavered, his faith never doubted. Onward and upward he led the way, 
always inspiring hope and confidence in his followers, so that to-day our 
young and growing University stands without a rival in the Mississippi val- 
ley. It is now the pride of our great State, and for this wonderful achieve- 
ment in the brief period of its life we are indebted chiefly to the able, timely, 
and continuous efforts of Major Rollins. 

For while it is true that he has been a most valued and useful citizen to 
both his State and his nation, serving them with signal ability in the Legis- 
lature and in Congress, guarding with scrupulous fidelity the honor and in- 
tegrity of both, displaying a patriotism and philanthropy that embraced our 
whole country, yet it is equally true that even in the hour of our greatest 
peril and his most laborious work, he never forgot his higher and nobler 
ambition of elevating and broadening human thought and conscience through 
the methods of a higher culture and deeper learning. To accomplish this, 
his theory was to further and improve the common schools, and the Univer- 
sity of Missouri as the great central light of the educational system of the 
whole State, whose light must burn brighter and brighter, electrifying the 
whole system. 

To this noble and patriotic purpose Major Rollins has given the unselfish 
and intelligent labors of a lifetime, with what effect we all know and here 
testify. And as the immortal Jefferson was the Father and Founder of the 
University of the State of Virginia, so Major Rollins is the Father and 
Founder of the University of the State of Missouri ; and I will say this, that 
while he is covered with honors both civic and martial, both by his State and 
nation, yet upon his monument, when he has crossed the dark river, I 
would write high above them all : " The Founder of the University of the 
State of Missouri." 

Mr. President, I therefore move that the Honorable Luther T. Collier,* of 
Livingston, on behalf of the Alumni and friends, now present to the Univer- 
sity, through its Curators, the bronze bust of Major James S. Rollins. 

* The address of this distinguished gentle- the University ; but it has never fallen under 
man is described, by such as were fortunate the eye of the present editor, and cannot be 
enough to hear it, as interesting and elabo- here reproduced and preserved, 
rate, sketching in bold outline the history oi 


Letter from the Honorable James S. Rollins. 

Columbia, Boone County, Missouri, May — , 1886. 

Honorable J. C. Cravens, Vice-President Board of Curators, Missouri 
State University. 

Dear Sir : On account of failing health during the past year, I deemed it my 
duty, on the 19th of April last, to tender to the Governor my resignation as a 
member of the Board of Curators. It was accepted and my successor has been 

As this step severs my official connection with the Board, I think it proper for 
me to express to its members, individually and collectively, the gratification my 
long and pleasant association with them, as with former Boards, during the last 
forty-seven years, has given me, in our efforts to advance and strengthen the Uni- 
versity in the confidence and affections of the people of the State, to whom it 

So far as I am personally concerned I may add that it has been a life-labor with 
me, begun as it was now nearly a half century ago, when the institution was located 
in the County of Boone. From that day to this, as citizen, asmember of our House 
of Representatives, of the State Senate, and of your Board, as a member of 
Congress from this district, and as a lifelong friend of popular and higher edu- 
cation, I have done all in my power to advance these great objects. This in- 
stitution had a severe struggle for existence at the beginning, and during these 
long years it has passed through all the vicissitudes attendant upon similar under- 
takings, and the varied fortunes of our country, until at last I am gratified to feel 
and to know that it stands upon a solid foundation. 

Wishing every member of the Board a long life of health, happiness, and pros- 
perity, I am with very high regard, 

Your friend and obedient servant, James S. Rollins. 

After the reading of this letter, on the motion of Mr. Colman a committee 
of three was appointed to report resolutions expressive of the sentiments of 
the Board on the subject. The committee, Messrs. Colman, Allen, and 
Campbell, after a short retirement reported the following, which were unan- 
imously adopted : 


Whereas, The Board of Curators of the University of the State of Missouri have 
heard with regret that on account of failing health the Honorable James S. Rollins, 
who for many years has been a member of the Board and its honored president, 
has resigned both positions ; and 

Whereas, it is eminently befitting the occasion, in view of his long and dis- 
tinguished services as both member and president, and the valuable aid he has 
rendered the cause of education in this State, both as private citizen and public 
official, that we place on record our appreciation of what he has accomplished for 
this institution and for other great and enduring interests of the commonwealth 
of Missouri. Therefore be it 

Resolved, That neither the utterances of tongue nor press, nor attempted per- 
sonation, whether in bronze or marble, can suffice to record or perpetuate a faithful 
record of the long and honorable services which this distinguished citizen has ren- 
dered in private and public life to the conception, organization, and success of the 
University of Missouri. 

Second. That during his first term in the Legislature of the State in 1839 he 
developed, anterior to anything except a general interest in the question, a fervid 
zeal for the establishment of a great institution of learning in his adopted State, 
and from that period to the present his life, both official and private, is a record 
of self-sacrifice, unshaken faith, and patient waiting for the fruition of his hopes. 

Third. That at that session of the Legislature, in a bill which he introduced, 
the policy was inaugurated of commencing the work of building in this great 
commonwealth, then in its infancy and sparsely settled, the institution of learn- 
ing in which we are assembled and which to-day rises like a thing of beauty and 
a monument to his fame. 

Fourth. That without attempting, in this brief testimony to his invaluable 
services, to recall in detail the long line of measures he devised in the Legislature 
and on the Board of Curators to advance the best interests of the University, we 
remark with pleasure and cordially indorse the eminently befitting terms in which 
these services are recognized by Governor Marmaduke in his letter accepting his 
resignation (which is herewith appended), wherein, in behalf of the people of the 
State, he tendered him an expression of their high appreciation of his long and 
eminently successful efforts in creating an institution of learning which is already 
an ornament to our great commonwealth and the pride of her citizens. " It is a 
matter of history" (the Governor continues) "that to you [him] more than to 
any one else is due its foundation, its location, its organization, and its growth 
and advance to its present position of extended usefulness ; and its perpetuity 
already assured will transmit your [his] name through the histories of countless 
future ages." 

Fifth. That these resolutions be entered on the journal of this body, and that 
the secretary be instructed to have a copy of them neatly printed on white satin, 
under the seal of the institution, and forwarded to Mr. Rollins, and that a similar 
copy be framed and hung in the library of the University. 


Letter of the Honor able Jamas S. Rollins to the President of the Association. 

Columbia, Missouri, January 22, 1880. 

Colonel Richard J. Howard, President of the Blair Monument 

Dear Sir: I have received the printed circulars that you were pleased to send 
me, in regard to the Blair monument. It will give me pleasure to cooperate in 
the effort now being made to raise means sufficient to procure an equestrian 
statue of General Frank P. Blair, and I herewith send you my draft on the Third 
National Bank for $100, which you will please have placed to the credit of the 
fund. I will also open subscription papers here, giving all an opportunity to be- 
come members of the association by subscribing to the fund. 

For twenty-five years before his death I was upon the most intimate and friendly 
terms with him, and sympathized with him in his political views and opinions. 

He was an honest, brave, independent, true, and patriotic man. On the break- 
ing out of the rebellion he was one among the first to volunteer his services in be- 
half of the Government of the United States, and with the lamented Lyon he gave 
the first effective blow against the rebellion. He did more than any other man 
to save Missouri from the disaster of secession ; and I received it from the lips 
of the martyred President himself that except for " Frank Blair" he hardly knew 
how he would have managed successfully the affairs of the Government in Missouri 
at that critical period. He fought through the war for the Constitution and the 
Union, and when it was over he was liberal and magnanimous. For these deeds 
of valor and true patriotism, no less than for his numerous personal virtues, his 
memory deserves to be perpetuated in bronze and marble ; and whilst Washing- 
ton, Marshall, Clay, Jackson, Winfield Scott, Benton, Lincoln, Bates, Farragut, 
Thomas, and others, all of them sons of Virginia, North or South Carolina, Ten- 
nessee, and Kentucky, have for similar services and virtues had such a tribute paid 
to their memories, there is every reason why Missouri and the country at large 
should commend to posterity the bright example and heroic deeds of our illus- 
trious statesman, patriot, and soldier, General Frank P. Blair. 

On the soil of Missouri, and in the city of St. Louis, is the proper place for such 
a statue. 

I am, with high regard, your friend and obedient servant, 

James S. Rollins. 


The following letter addressed to Mr. R. B. Price, then at Jefferson City, 
is only one of a thousand, but it is interesting as showing how entirely con- 


sumed were mind and soul of Major Rollins by zeal for the University, and 
it is valuable as illustrating his methods in dealing with measures and with 
men. Disease had indeed prostrated his body, but from the couch of pain 
he still reached forth a hand full-fingered, to press the keys of legislation 
and teach it how to sound. 

Columbia, Mo., March 14, 1883. 
Mr. Price: 

Dear Sir: After you left yesterday I received a letter from our friend L. T. 
Collier, in which he speaks encouragingly of the passage of our bills. He stated 
in his letter that his family was sick and he probably would have to leave there 
and go home. I hope you will see him promptly and induce him to remain, for 
besides his vote his presence there until the end of the session is very important 
to us. 

My experience is that at the end of every session of the Legislature important 
bills are lost from carelessness and indifference, and I desire you, therefore, to 
trace up and ascertain the precise condition of the following bills, all of which 
were carefully drawn by me here and sent to various members for introduction.' 

First. A small bill changing the law in regard to the Treasurer of the Board 
of Curators of the University, and authorizing the Board of Curators to fix his 
annual compensation. I sent this bill to Proctor, and it was introduced, I think, 
by Hughlett. Find out how it stands, and see that it becomes a law. 

Second. The bill authorizing five Curators to act as a quorum to do business, 
I think, was defeated by the interference of .... of Phelps County. 

Third. The General Appropriation Bill you will, of course, look after. The 
item of twenty-three thousand dollars is put in the bill, to pay debts; this is better 
than the way I had it, which was to compensate for stock lost in the National 
Bank of the State of Missouri. We shall still have a good claim for this stock 
hereafter. I presume the items in this bill will be left undisturbed. 

Fourth. Senate Bill No. 35, providing for the investment of public educational 
funds and also for the increase of the said funds, I sent to Senator Bryant; he 
introduced it, it passed the Senate, and is now pending in the House. Look after 
this bill, and press it through the House. It will be in the long run one of the 
most important measures ever introduced into our Legislature. We must not 
lose it for the lack of close attention. 

Fifth. There is Senate Bill No. 40, which I also sent to Senator Bryant, and 
which he introduced. It was finally passed through the Senate, and is now 
pending in the House. This bill appropriates $100,000 for enlarging and 
repairing the main edifice of the University. For present purposes this is our 
most important bill. It was most carefully drawn, and needs no amendment. 
Rally the forces and see that it is passed through the House, with the $100,000 
appropriation retained in it. Do not allow this item to be changed. Contend 
for every inch of ground, and pass it. 

Sixth. There is what is known as the Sanborn Bill, appropriating $15,000 for 
the benefit of the Agricultural College. This bill was drawn up by Mr. Sanborn. 


I took it, remodeled it, and put it in good shape. It was introduced by, and is in 
the hands of, Mr. Marmaduke. See him, and also see that it becomes a law. 

Seventh. Professor Schweitzer drew up a bill for a separate laboratory. I had 
nothing to do with this but to look over it carefully. It was an excellent bill and 
was sent to Senator Bryant also, but I think he never introduced it into the 
Senate. See how this is. 

Eighth. The Governor recommended in his message a larger permanent 
endowment for the University. Senator Bryant, I think, got up a bill for this 
object, but it was never pressed for final action in the Senate, I believe. See 
how this is, and get a printed copy of this bill for future use. 

The above, as I remember, are all the bills pertaining to the University. See 
that they are in good shape and get as many of them through the two Houses as 
you possibly can, more particularly the General Appropriation Bill, and also 
Senate Bills Nos. 35 and 40 above referred to. 

Nothing that I could say could induce either .... or .... to 
go to Jefferson. I sent .... in their place, who will do good service and 
will cooperate with you. I have written another strong letter to ... . 
Call on him and talk with him. He is a man who can be impressed with good 
influences. See .... of Ray, and urge him to " make hay while the 
sun shines." 

I have written also to ... . and .... See them both if they 
are in Jefferson City, and urge them to bring the railroad men to the support 
of our bills. There is no time to be lost. This is the seventy- first day of the 
session, and at one dollar a day the members will begin to scatter like wild geese. 
I hope you will remain at your post until the last one of our bills is acted upon, 
for if you leave a number of them will be lost. Confer freely with .... 
and . . . . ; awaken them to the importance of the occasion, and put 
additional springs in their backs. Although half-dead, I have worked myself 
nearly to death in my library this winter in behalf of these measures. It is about 
the last work perhaps that I shall ever be able to do for the University and for 
this town, and hence my great anxiety at this time. 

There is nothing new here. Pull the Moss-back string. Your friend, 

James S. Rollins. 

p. s. — I sent .... a bill making the Governor, State Auditor and 
. . . . ex-officio Annual Visitors to the University, and also authorizing the 
Governor to appoint five other intelligent gentlemen to act annually as Visitors. 
This is a very important bill ; it has passed the House, and is now in the Senate. 

J. S. R. 



Front the Columbia (Missouri) Statesman, June 22, iSSj, 


At the Alumni Reunion held in the Library Hall of the State University, 
on the evening of June 6, 1883, J. S. Blackwell, A. M., Ph. D., professor of 
Hebrew and Semitic Literature and Modern Languages, in response to the 
sentiment " The President of the Board of Curators " spoke as follows : 

Mr. Chairman : I feel that the world is growing. It is growing in that which 
best exalts the race : in the spirit of unselfishness ; in generous reproof of the 
meanness of those who in past time stoned their prophets, poisoned their sages, 
and crucified their benefactors ; men who were too short-sighted to perceive what 
a poor sagacity might have foreknown : a swift repentance on the morrow, and a 
deification of that which was yesterday abhorred. It is not the lessons of history 
alone which have wrought more of steadiness in the fickle affections of men, nor 
is it alone the persuasive influence of religious culture which has stolen like a 
blessing into the human heart. It is mostly the enlightenment of the people. 
The cry of every consciously deserving human soul that has suffered the anguish 
of misappreciation and neglect might well be, in speaking of the thoughtless 
workers of its undoing, that " they know not what they do." It is pleasant there- 
fore to-night to realize that hand which we recognize, with grateful acknowledg- 
ments, has been itself the scatterer of the beams of light, which our Alumni 
have gathered up, and that we can exhibit practically the beneficent influences 
of education in reflecting, while we have here the presence in the flesh of the 
founder of the institution, the kindred rays of gratitude, reverence, and love. 

We would honor James S. Rollins for the magnificent faith which he enter- 
tained of this people when he bent the sturdy shoulder of an apostle of education to 
the arduous task of drawing the people of Missouri to that station of progress which 
he occupied, when forty years ago he lived far ahead of his age in the prophetic 
realities of this moment. We would honor him for his large, constant, and 
cheerful nature, as evidenced in the Roman fortitude which never despaired of 
ultimate success while carrying forward the interests of this sacred trust, when he 
argued and disputed with foes, when he won friends, when he defeated duplicity 
and rewarded faithfulness, when he brought to every struggle the quick and facile 
fence, the surprising parry, the formidable thrust, or the shivering thunder- 
stroke of an alert, nimble, and full-panoplied mind. We would honor him as a 
man who brings to this generation, which else would have no adequate concep- 
tion of the giants of other days, the vigor of an oratorical power which breathed 
in fullest strength, in Henry Clay, whose displays are not like the tinsel and glitter 
of our pinchbeck rhetoric, but in the uncreated, swift, fierce, and resistless torrent 
that sweeps in floods of volcanic fire from the hot passions of the heart. We 
honor him as the incarnate type of Missouri's best thought, the model of its 
noblest manhood, the representative of its highest refinement, as the presentient 


initial force, which first operating in the founding of the University gathers 
increment to infinity from the trained power of its graduates and from the multi- 
plied helps of prospering years ; and finally we honor him for his brave friend- 
ship in the wot thy cause of education. We assure him that not his political career 
honorable as it is, not his domestic virtues and fine personal qualities which bring 
him close to the hearts of those who love him, not the quiet triumphs and 
rewards of civic life will hand his name down to posterity, but the noble pile 
which here shall stand will be the crowning monument to an ambition truly 
Jeffersonian; and the fair genius of higher education reaching forth into the his- 
tory of Missouri will hold up to its youth forever, as trophies plucked for immor- 
tality, the name and the honors of James Sidney Rollins. 


It is currently stated as an accepted matter of fact, with apparent correct- 
ness, and hitherto without contradiction, that Major Rollins was either the 
author or the principal advocate, and generally both, of every important 
legislative enactment promoting the interests of the University of Missouri 
from its foundation, in 1839, down to his own resignation of the Curatorial 
Presidency, in 1886 — a period of forty-seven years. 

The following are some of his measures, which, it will be seen, both lay the 
financial basis and constitute the legal essence of the University: 

First. Bill to select site for the University, February 9, 1839. Under this act 
the institution was located at Columbia, Missouri, June 24, 1839. 

Second. Bill approved March 11, 1867, establishing normal department in the 

Third. Bill providing for the establishment of two normal schools, one at 
Warrensburg and the other at Kirksville. 

Fourth. Bill approved March 11, 1867, appropriating ten thousand dollars to 
rebuild President's house, and giving one and three-fourths percent, of the public 
revenues of the State, after deducting twenty-five per cent, for the public schools. 
Under this bill the President's house, which had been burned, was rebuilt, and the 
University received under the one and three-fourths' clause about fifteen thousand 
dollars annually for the period of ten years. 

Fifth. Bill providing for the location of the Agricultural and Mechanical College 
as a department of the University, February 24, 1870. This act has up to this time 
added to the permanent endowment of the University three hundred and twelve 
thousand dollars ($312,000) cash, with sixty thousand acres of land yet to be sold. 

Sixth. Bill adding to the permanent endowment of the University and Mining 
School, March 29, 1872. This act appropriated one hundred and sixty-six thou- 
sand dollars ($166,000). Of this sum thirty-five thousand dollars ($35,000) went 
to the School of Mines at Rolla; thirty-one thousand dollars ($31,000) towards 
the erection of a Scientific Building, and payment of outstanding debts of the 


University, and one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) to the permanent en- 
dowment of the University. 

Seventh. Bill making the University substantially free to the youth of the State, 
male and female, April 1, 1872. 

Eighth. Bill providing for permanent investment of University educational 
funds, 1883. Under this act the sum of about four hundred and fifty thousand 
dollars ($450,000) of the University funds is now invested in 5 per cent. State cer- 
tificates of indebtedness, and is thus made absolutely secure. A most wise pro- 
vision, yet much less liberal and far-reaching than as originally drafted by Mr. 
Rollins, who fixed the percentage at six instead of five, and the period at fifty in- 
stead of twenty years. But even though maimed it is yet invaluable. 

Ninth. Bill providing for the annual appointment by the Governor of a Board 
of Visitors to the University. 

Tenth. Bill appropriating one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) for enlarg- 
ing the main edifice of the old University building, 1883. 


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